Lake County residents to vote on $51.5M referendum for major school improvements

Minnehaha Elementary School in Two Harbors, MN
Minnehaha Elementary School in Two Harbors, MN(kbjr 6/cbs 3)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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TWO HARBORS, MN. (KBJR 6) - The Lake Superior School District aims to make massive changes to Minnehaha Elementary School in Two Harbors and William Kelley High School in Silver Bay.

“Both buildings built in the 40s and 50s, the Minnehaha had a big remodel in the 70s but is in dire need of improvements. So facilities, classroom experiences, just really making the building function for a 21st-century learning experience,” Superintendent of Lake Superior School District, Jay Belcastro said.

The first ballot question will ask if voters are willing to invest about $44 million to update and remodel education spaces.

Because the district’s bond debt from building the new Two Harbors High School expired, and if voters give their approval, there won’t be an additional impact on property taxes.

Brett Archer, Principal of Minnehaha Elementary School, said the school needs the help and added teachers are using closets and locker rooms as classrooms.

“They are a group of teachers that make do with what they have but after you make due for so long it’d be nice to give them something that they can do cool things with their kids, improving the technology, improving the indoor spaces so they can get together and actually work together with kids,” Archer said.

Two Harbors High School is also included for smaller upgrades, included in the second ballot question.

It includes a $7.3 million upgrade to athletic facilities at the Two Harbors and William Kelley High Schools.

If passed, an additional $3 increase per month would be applied to $200,000 homes.

“A strong school equals a strong community, there’s no doubt about that. The increase of home values when people come in and look at where they want to live oftentimes they look at the schools,” Belcastro said.

Both Belcastro and Archer said caring for Lake County schools is another way to care for the entire community.

“It affects how people feel about their school and I think this community would benefit from and enjoy having a facility that really helps education shine,” Archer said.

For the full referendum layout, you can click here.

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