Rothsay school vote on MondayPublished 11:00am Thursday, December 13, 2012
Not only is Rothsay School bursting at the seams, there are code violations that need to be remedied. The school board is proposing building a new facility rather than continuing to add on and fix the current one. A $24 million bond referendum for a new school goes before district voters Monday.
“We have made every attempt to inform the public, and now it’s up to them,” said Superintendent Warren Schmidt. “They have the why and the how and what it will cost.”
In case people still have questions, there is a public meeting on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the school.
Voting will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the school.
There is no alternate plan if the referendum does not pass.
“We’ve already reduced the project by $9,000 to keep the price tag down as low as we could to get the blessing of the State Board of Education and constituents,” said Schmidt. “We can’t come back with something cheaper. We have code violations that we will have to do something to about. The problems won’t just go away.”
The referendum is for construction of a new, 100,000 square-foot school building. The referendum wording reads as follows:
“Shall the school board of Independent School District No. 850 (Rothsay) be authorized to issue its general obligation school building
bonds in an amount not to exceed $24,000,000 to provide funds for the
acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities, including the
construction and equipping of a PreK-12 school facility?”
“By voting ‘YES’ on this ballot question, you are voting for a property tax increase.”
According to the Otter Tail County Auditor’s office, school share of property taxes based on a $100,000 home is $887. If the building bond passes, the school board will voluntarily reduce the current operating levy by $1,500 per student. This means that on a $80,000 home, property taxes may go down slightly. On a $100,000 home, property taxes are estimated to increase by $66, according to Schmidt.
“We have been gaining 20 to 25 students a year,” said Schmidt. “We will need to rent facilities or bring in portables for next year to accommodate all of the students.”
The current school building was constructed in 1903, and has undergone numerous additions or renovations, the last being in 2003. A study commissioned by the Board of Education determined that bring the current school up to code requirements would cost roughly $6.9 million for the current 47,000 square feet, without adding more space. An additional 53,000 feet of new space would be needed to meet the district’s needs, and the board recommended that the school have more acreage based on its projected student population. Estimated costs to have the current facilities meet the district’s needs are $17 million, not including the additional land.