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State Will Help Moose Lake Build School If Referendum Passes

Updated: 08/27/2014 3:10 PM
Created: 08/26/2014 5:03 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

It's almost time for kids to head back to school, but in Moose Lake school officials hope their students will be in a new school by 2016.

For the fifth time, the school district is asking local, property taxpayers to vote yes on a bond referendum this November. The tax hike has been hard to sell in the past, but this year it's a very different story.

"The thing that's different about this one is the legislation," Superintendent Bob Indihar said. "We really did have an unfair tax impact without it."

Special legislation will foot 60 percent of the bill for a new school if voters pass the referendum. The state's portion will equate to $20.3 million for the $34.7 million project. That leaves about $14.4 million for local taxpayers which is the same cost of needed renovations at the current building.

"If I'm going to spend almost $15 million fixing up a school, I would rather spend $15 million on a brand new facility," Teacher Michelle Olson said. "That's what this new referendum will give us and in the past we haven't had it. It's a gift from the state we can't pass up."

Indihar said parts of the current building are 80 years old and the infrastructure needs big help. In 2012, the school was also overwhelmed by flood water which didn't help the situation.

If the referendum passes, the school already owns 180 acres off Highway 10 where they can build a new school. That will also get the new building away from flooding dangers.

"I think kids feel taken care of if they know their surroundings are well taken care of," Olson said. "We've done the best we can with this old building, but it's time to let it go and start fresh."

If the referendum passes, a local taxpayer with a $150,000 home would pay $337 a year. Before the special legislation, it would have been $710 a year.

The election is November 4.

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