LETTER: Supports PR Schools’ bond referendum

For the past 40 years, I have proudly called the Park Rapids area my home.

Our strong schools contribute to the growth of our community. As the parent of two kids who graduated from the district, I am grateful for the high-quality education they received.

I have also worked as a special education paraprofessional at Century School for 17 years. I'm the AFSCME Union president and general manager of Necce's Ristorante. It has been my experience that this community has had an integral role in the success of this school and all of the students.

That’s why I am writing to express my support of Park Rapids Area Schools and its proposed facilities improvement plan on the ballot this November. The plan will add much-needed space at the high school and Century School and improve safety, security, hands-on learning and career and technical training.

To help guide this decision on a referendum, the district recently conducted a scientific telephone survey about educational quality, distance learning and long-term facilities investments. The results show that a majority of community members are in favor of considering a referendum plan this year.


According to the phone survey, 87 percent of Park Rapids area voters believe we receive a good value from our investment in local public schools – it increases our property values and attracts new businesses and residents.

The plan, if approved by local voters, would protect this investment in our schools by modernizing classrooms and enhancing health, safety and security measures, among other key improvements. With Century School requiring only minor updates, most of these investments would focus on the high school, which has remained relatively unchanged since it opened in 1970.

Throughout the facilities planning process, Superintendent Lance Bagstad and the school board have shown a willingness to listen to all voices, from staff and parents to community leaders and residents. This has included holding listening sessions, sharing regular updates and promoting an online survey that was open to all district residents.

If you haven’t done so already, you can visit to learn more about the needs of our schools. The website will be updated soon to reflect the referendum plan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of our schools and their value in our community. Investments now will bring long-lasting benefits to the Park Rapids area.

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