SAUK RAPIDS -- With an eye on the future, Bruce Watkins will be leading the Sauk Rapids - Rice School District for the foreseeable future as the district's interim superintendent.

Watkins takes over after a recent failed referendum in May.

He says the district doesn't want to give up on the idea of expanding just yet, but he knows they need to re-focus.

"We don't want to lose any ground on that, but at the same time we know that when any referendum fails you want to make sure you're aligning what you want to do with the district with community priorities."

The referendum proposal was for $86.9-million broken into two options: $56.9 million for upgrading all district facilities and building several new ones including a new elementary school and athletic facilities at the high school, and $30 million to rebuild Pleasantview Elementary where it is now.

Watkins says he wants to use social media to get the community involved from here on out.

"I'm really fond of trying to seek input through social and electronic media. That gives us the ability now to do surveys of our community and do repeated surveys once you get that preliminary data."

Sauk Rapids-Rice School Board selected Watkins in April after long-time superintendent Dan Bittman took the superintendent job in Elk River. He had previously served as Superintendent for District 742.

The district has several open houses coming up on Wednesday August 30. An early childhood open houses will be at Hillside Elementary. Other schools hosting open houses include, Mississippi Heights, Pleasantview, Rice Elementary School and Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle and High School.

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