Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Voters to be asked about HLWW middle school on ballot

October 27, 2008

HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN - Voters in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District will be asked to approve a referendum regarding the middle school, Tuesday, Nov. 4.

If approved, the referendum would authorize the district to issue $8.4 million in bonds to finance the acquisition and betterment of the middle school.

This would result in the construction and relocation of the middle school to adjacent to the HLWW High School.

The cost of upgrading the heating, ventilation, air handling, lighting and plumbing and other energy improvements in the old building would amount to $7.1 million over time, compared to $8.4 million to build a new addition to the high school.

The 8.4 million would include demolition of the oldest section of the current middle school, according to the school district. Upgrading costs would include no structural changes or remodeling of the current middle school.

Frequently asked questions about the levy

The HLWW School Board has answered the following questions regarding the building referendum.

What is a building referendum?

• A building referendum is a locally approved tax that district residents approve to build new or remodel current facilities.

• It’s different from an operating levy, which funds operations. The last successful vote was on a referendum for a new high school. This vote is for a bond to build a new middle school and partially demolish part of the current middle school.

Is the plan to build a middle school onto the high school a new proposal for the district?

No. The district has envisioned the future need for a middle school addition since November 2003. As a result, the high school was designed to easily add future classroom additions.

In February 2006, the building bond proposal highlighted this potential addition. Also, the improvements to the current middle school building included in the 2006 Building Bond were primarily targeted on those parts of the building that were deemed to have the most potential to be used in the future.

Why wasn’t the middle school addition included in the 2006 building bond referendum

The school board prioritized the land purchase, high school building, and elementary remodeling in the 2006 referendum. This first phase of the building plan was presented with a set dollar amount that the board felt would be acceptable and affordable to the taxpayers in the district.

Why is the district proposing a building bond instead of remodeling the current middle school?

The board voted against spending $7,100,000 to upgrade the heating, ventilation, air handling, lighting and plumbing, and other energy improvements and decided to let the public choose if spending $8,400,000 to build a new addition to the high school would be a better alternative.

What will happen to the current middle school building if the vote is successful?

The south portion of the building will be utilized by Community Education until the time it is needed for additional classrooms.

The board’s vision is that at that time it could become a third elementary, thus providing an elementary in each community. The north portion (Humphrey Hall) would be utilized by the district for multiple events and student activities as well as available for community groups to rent.

Does the school have sufficient operating funds to operate the facilities?

Whether or not a new middle school addition is built, additional operating funds will be needed when the existing operating levy expires in 2010.

As was presented to the voters in the 2006 referendum, the operating funds at that time were estimated to be sufficient to operate the schools based on the existing levies and state funding projections. However, one of the existing levies expired subsequent to the referendum, and it was not renewed by the voters in November 2007, or again in April 2008.

The remaining levy is set to expire in 2010. If this is not renewed and /or the state does not increase funding, it would be very difficult to say that the district would have the operating funds without some additional deep cuts to staff and student programs. It’s not anticipated that the middle school addition will increase operating costs over the current facilities due to more efficient construction and related energy efficiencies.

What will be the tax impact of the new building bond?

For the owner of a home with a taxable market value of $100,000, the referendum portion of school taxes will be $98 per year.

What will be on the ballot in November?

One question: - $8,400,000 to add a new middle schoolto the current high school, which would include demolishing certain portions of the current middle school.

What could the money generated in a successful vote in November be used for?

The money can only be used for the middle school addition and demolition/remodel work at the current middle school.

How do I get more information?

• Call the superintendent’s office at (320)543-3521.

• Visit the district’s web site at www.hlww.k12.mn.us.

• Contact a school board member. Dan Schaible, chair (320)543-2075, Lori Custer, vice chair (320)543-3033, Al Doering (763)658-7040, Michelle Heuer (763)658-4762, Charles Weber (320)485-2566, Paul Weibel (320)485-4396 or Jamie Wiech (320)543-3067.

Do you have questions about your tax impact?

• If you would like more information about how the proposed referendum will affect your taxes, call the Ehlers Property Tax Hotline (Twin Cities area call (651)697-8500, orGreater Minnesota call (800)552-1171) during regular business hours and ask to speak to any member of the Education Team. You may also send an e-mail message to mnschools@ehlers-inc.com. Please include your name and a daytime telephone number so that you may be contacted if more information is needed.

• Please have your payable 2008 taxable market value or parcel identification number available when you call or include this information in your e-mail.


 

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