Voters in the White Bear Lake Area School District approved a $326 million building bond request to address building needs across the district by a margin of 57.4% yes to 42.6% no (unofficial results: 8,536 yes votes, 6,336 no votes).
The voter-approved bonds will fund a Comprehensive Facilities Plan that was based on a nearly year-long facilities planning process that included: a 90-member Facilities Planning Committee composed of parents, staff and community members; several School Board discussions; community surveys; and demographic and facilities studies.
Construction projects which address building needs across the district will include:
- district-wide additions and renovations to accommodate projected enrollment growth,
- safety and security improvements and deferred maintenance projects at all district facilities,
- district-wide classroom and building updates to create flexible learning spaces.
In addition, building-specific changes, which are primarily driven by enrollment growth and classroom needs, will include:
- a new K-5 elementary school being built in Hugo,
- converting Oneka from grades 2-5 to a K-5 elementary and Hugo Elementary from grades K-1 to a northern Early Childhood location,
- the current grades 9-10 North Campus receiving an addition to become the district’s new unified grade 9-12 high school,
- Sunrise Park Middle School moving to the current grades 11-12 South Campus location,
- the current Sunrise Park Middle School site becoming the site for various community programs including the Senior Center and Early Childhood programs currently housed at Normandy Park, the Transition Education Center currently located in leased space in Hugo, and the district office,
- Central Middle School expanding to take over the current District Center building.
“This courageous step forward by our community will serve the school district and all residents well for decades to come,” said White Bear Lake Area Schools Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak. “We are grateful to the Comprehensive Facilities Planning team that worked incredibly hard on these recommendations - and to the voters for approving them.”
The facilities plan was developed to address two primary areas:
- Enrollment growth: Due to housing growth and turnover throughout the district, the district projects more than 2,000 new resident students will enroll during the next ten years, which is 25% higher than current capacity.
- Educational program and building maintenance needs that should be addressed in the next ten years in order to maintain the community’s investment in its schools.
The district will now begin developing plans and timelines for the construction projects. Because the construction will touch every building and program in some way, projects will be phased in to cause as little disruption to students as possible.
“Thank you White Bear Lake Area Schools residents for this vote of confidence and investment in our youth and our community!” said Superintendent Kazmierczak.
School funding is a partnership between the state and federal governments and local taxpayers. When schools need additional funding for major building projects or to support operating expenses, they must turn to voters for their approval - with bond requests for building projects and levy requests for learning expenses. More background on this referendum is available at www.isd624.org/Bond2019.
The School Board election results are as follows:
- Scott A. Wilson (16.81% )
- Scott Arcand (18.27%)
- Angela Thompson (25.36%)
- Patrick Battaglia (16.57%)
- Margaret Ann Newmaster (21.64%)
- WRITE-IN* (1.34%)
Find the Secretary of State’s election results here.