Chisholm voters to weigh in on school district funding

Chisholm voters to weigh in on school district funding
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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CHISHOLM, MN -- On November 8, Chisholm voters will vote “yes” or “no” on two separate questions, both of which could have big implications on the school district’s future.

The first, if approved, would renew the school district’s operating levy that’s set to expire next year.

“Our operating is what is falling off and that’s about $200,000 a year,” Chisholm superintendent Adrian Norman, said.

School officials say voting yes to that question would not lead to a property tax increase, and would instead prevent them from having to cut programs

However, voters will also have a second decision in front of them: whether to vote “yes” or “no” on a $32 million bond referendum.

“The bond side is what we are looking for in the new building,” Norman stated.

If that vote passes, Chisholm school leaders close both Chisholm Elementary and Vaughan Steffensrud Elementary, and will then add a new elementary school at the high school.

It would also allow them to improve high school athletic facilities and other district infrastructure.

“Some of the issues here are safety,” the Chisholm superintendent said. “Students crossing the street to get to and from breakfast and lunch, which is a public road. Same with the pickup and the stop off with the buses.”

If that bond referendum vote passes, community members with a $200,000 home would pay an extra $600 a year, for the next 20 year.

The district only needs 50 percent of the voters to pass the building bond referendum.

Some who work for the school district hope this will be the case.

“I feel that our community is going to gain a new identity that is going to continue the BlueStreak pride,” activities director and Chisholm history teacher Travis Vake said.

Last year alone, the school district spent $400,000 over budget to fix up some of the aging infrastructure.

Many of which school officials say were emergency repairs.

“This is about the kids and it’s about the future of the kids and making sure that we do everything we can to make sure that we do everything that we can to make sure that they’re safe and secure,” Vake said.

Click here for more information on the referendum and upcoming public informational meetings.