SARTELL (WJON News) -- The Sartell-St. Stephen School District has an expensive repair on the horizon...a new heating and cooling system for Riverview Intermediate School.

Superintendent Tom Lee says the school was built in 1969 and has the original HVAC system that was installed 54 years ago...

Two years ago we had an estimate that it was going to cost $16-million, now it's almost $20-million. And, so in two years, we've seen a $4-million increase in the cost of getting this done. For me, this is a pay me now or pay me more later type of scenario because it is a need it is not a nice-to-have.

Lee says the capital improvement committee cut the project from the list when the new high school was built to save money, but he says they can't wait any longer to replace the system.

The school board is considering a tool called Long-Term Facilities Maintenance which would allow them to levy taxpayers for the money without holding a referendum...

It allows the school board to bond without asking the voters. They can make the decision as a board to bond for things that would qualify for health and safety.  Indoor air-quality does (meet that criteria), and so that's the tool this board is giving consideration to at this time.

Lee says the estimates are that a family with a $300,000 home would see a tax impact of $140 per year on the school district portion of their taxes.

Another initiative that is launching next week is a podcast where Lee says they'll not only inform families about things they need to know but also promote the great programs and events happening at their schools.

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