Monday, November 16, 2009

Central School District Bond Referendum session coming to Hamburg

December 1, 2009 will mark a day that those whose property taxes go to pay for Central Public School system in Norwood, Minnesota to vote on a bond referendum. The bond referendum on the heels of an enrollment projection study started over 2 years ago by Hazel Rinehart. The study resulted in the realization that the Central Public School system is set for "a good deal" of growth in the upcoming years. According to a public brochure being circulated in the district the bonds will fund two projects, "Part of the proceeds will be used to unearth the elementary school and to add windows and ventilation. The other part will be used to rework the entire heating, ventilation, and de-humidification systems in the Middle/High school."

The Federal Stimulus bill, passed earlier this year, has granted Minnesota access to $75 million in bonds that will be set at 0% interest rate. The Department of Education has approved allocation of interest-free bonds to the two projects provided that taxpayers vote for the bond referendum. The total cost of the project is estimated at $10,200,000. Information sessions have already taken place in Cologne and at the Central Elementary Media Center with a final one taking place November 17th at the Hamburg City Offices at 7 pm. There will be one more school board meeting before the vote as well.

Here is what the ballot will say:

Shall the school board of Independent School District No. 108 (Central Public Schools) be authorized to issue its general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $10,200,000 to provide funds for the acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities, including the renovation, repair, remodeling, upgrading and construction of improvements to the elementary school site and facility; and the improvement, upgrading and repair of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, indoor air quality, electrical and dehumidification systems at the middle school/high school facility?

BY VOTING "YES" ON THIS BALLOT QUESTION, YOU ARE VOTING FOR A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE.


 

One of the benefits being touted is that making use of the Federal bond program is that it will save taxpayers $6.1 million dollars in interest. According the website, http://www.central.k12.mn.us/bond/Impact.html, the impact per home in the area, based on a value of $200,000, will be $112 increase in yearly property taxes. Many of us that live in Hamburg are already facing a potential increase in our property taxes or assessment being levied on our property to update the sewer system. A question I have for the board, which I intend to ask at the informational meeting in Hamburg on tomorrow, is to explain where they see the additional students coming from?

As many Hamburg residents know, we cannot grow our community – residential or commercial – because of our I/I situation. While we all agree that educating our youth is critical to the success of our state and country in the future. In an attempt to brow beat citizens, a page on the website shows a comparison of tax rates for schools in the area. Why do we need to pay what the Jones' are paying? The bigger question is how the bond referendum will impact the quality of education for our children. Plus, why cannot the school pay back the bonds under the current budget structure?

I encourage all residents to show up in Hamburg tomorrow to voice your concerns and/or support for the bond referendum. While our economy saw artificial growth last quarter many economists to do not see recovering taking place for more than a year from now. If you will not be able to attend the meetings, place your questions in the comment section and I will ask them at the meeting in Hamburg. I will then report back the answers too. If you know of someone in Central School District that is not a regular reader of The Hamburg Post, please forward on the site so their voice can be heard as well.

Here is a link to more information provided by the school district: http://www.central.k12.mn.us/bond/