$93-Million Sauk Rapids-Rice Referendum Fails
SAUK RAPIDS -- Voters in the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District have rejected the proposed $93-million dollar referendum.
The referendum failed by 1,297 votes.
The district was asking for $93,185,000 to build secure entrances across the district, build a new elementary school, rebuild Pleasantview elementary and expand early childhood space at Rice Elementary, and Hillside School.
Interim Superintendent Bruce Watkins says they're disappointed in the results but the public has spoken, and they'll move on from here keeping these results in mind.
"Everybody's put in a lot of time and energy on the project. So there's a disappointment that it's not going forward, but on the other hand, we know it's also a true form of grass-roots government. The public's spoken and we know that we live with these results."
With the defeat of the second consecutive referendum, Watkins says the needs of the district haven't changed. He says they know they have to figure out a measure the community can support.
"I think we always realize in Minnesota school finance that it takes voter approval to make facility enhancements. That's not new to us, we just have to keep working to find that collaborative measure people can support."
Other things in the referendum included outdoor phy-ed, athletic and activity spaces at the high school. If it had passed, the owner of a $158,355 home -- the average value of a home in the district's borders -- would have paid an extra $137 per year for 20 years.
All in all, over 5,500 votes were cast by residents in the district.