|ESTIMATED HOME VALUE||MONTHLY TAX INCREASE||ANNUAL TAX INCREASE|
Phase I addresses immediate needs of security, accessibility, and asset preservation through a four-year bond of $9.42 million. (Tax impact of about $20/year on $100,000 home).
Phase II initiates a multi-year study of facilities to identify the community’s preference to address long-term needs.
Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) is seeking a bond referendum for $9,420,000 on the November 2018 ballot. Funds from a successful bond referendum will allow WAPS to address critical and urgent projects along with renovating buildings to be ADA compliant and increase the safety of our students and staff. The projects to be funded fall under two areas:
SAFETY & SECURITY
The proposed safety and security improvements include additional security technology at all of the district buildings. This includes additional security cameras, lockdown buttons and strobes, and control of exterior doors. In addition, the funds will allow for the creation of secure vestibules at Jefferson and Washington Kosciusko elementary schools and the Early Childhood entrance at Goodview School.
Several critical building maintenance and repair projects are proposed at all buildings with the exception of the Area Learning Center, which is a newer facility. The proposed projects will include improving exterior and interior handicapped accessibility, replacement of life safety systems such as fire alarms, replacement of aging electric and plumbing systems, HVAC and resealing or replacement of hard surface play areas and parking lots.
These projects were identified through a long range planning process that included a Community Task Force on Facilities that met in 2016 and again in 2018. Based on recommendations from the task force and feedback from a community survey, the WAPS Board of Education voted to put forth a bond referendum on November 2018.
There will be a series of community information and listening sessions on the bond referendum this fall. Presentations on the referendum are scheduled on September 13, 2018 at 6 pm in the auditorium of the High school, 903 Gilmore Ave. and October 25, 2018 at 6 pm in the auditorium of the Middle school, 1570 Homer Road.
PRESENTATION FOR GROUPS
Superintendent Dahman would be pleased to be a guest at your next group meeting, to schedule please call at 507.494.0861.
Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on November 6, 2018.
To find your polling place visit: www.mnvotes.sos.mn.us/elections-voting
September 21, 2018 - November 2, 2018 from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm at the Winona County Building,177 Main
- Absentee voting can also happen on Saturday, November 3th from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm and November 5 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Winona County Building, 177 Main
- Absentee ballots be requested online, in person or by mail. For more information go to: www.co.winona.mn.us
- What is the difference between a building bond referendum and an operating levy referendum?
- Why is the bond referendum needed?
- What projects will be completed with a successful bond referendum?
- When will the projects be completed?
- Will students need to be housed elsewhere while projects get completed?
- How does the Ag Land Tax Credit affect the tax impact from this referendum?
- What is the district plan after Phase I?
- How come the school district hasn’t maintained their facilities properly over time?
- What happens if the bond referendum is not passed?
- How are safety and security being addressed?
- Where do I vote? Is there early voting available?
- Where can I find information about tax impact?
- How was community input incorporated in the plan?
- How is the Minnesota Department of Education involved in the process?
- When can the public learn more and ask questions about the referendum?
A building bond referendum asks voters to support funding specifically for the purpose of building projects. An operating levy asks voters to support funding to finance learning and operations such as hiring teachers, utility costs, etc. While both require voter support, the two funding sources are completely separate.
Building bond referendums are one of the funding mechanisms provided for public school districts in Minnesota. The state provides very little funding for facilities improvements. It is expected that local communities provide the funding to build and maintain school facilities. A bond referendum is a necessary part of financing school projects. The District has not had a bond referendum since 1997 with the construction of the new middle school. We must begin to address building needs as our facilities continue to age.
- All buildings will have secure vestibules, visitor screening and increased technology related to security. This will include additional cameras, strobe lights and door locks.
- Facilities will be accessible for students, visitors and staff with disabilities. Wheelchairs will be able to come through main entrances.
- Critical maintenance projects for the aging buildings, including replacement of electrical services, fire alarm systems, piping replacement, roofing, and parking lots.
Given the size and scope of the projects, students would not need to be relocated from their school building. The majority of the work will be completed during summer breaks. Any work that would be completed during the school year would be carefully coordinated to ensure the safety of students and not disrupt learning.
The School Building Bond Agricultural Credit bill provides a 40% reduction in tax impact for school building bonds for agricultural land. Homestead examples exclude the house, garage and one acre, which has the same tax impact as a residential homestead. More information about tax impact can be found on the District’s referendum website, including a tax impact calculator where you can find the exact impact by searching for your property.
The Community Task Force on Facilities identified significant needs for buildings beyond the current proposal. A community planning process for those long-range needs would likely take place in the next two years 2019-2020. We plan continued dialogue with the community to determine how to best meet these long-term facility’s needs.
State support for public schools is primarily focused on operational costs. Personnel costs, energy use, and curriculum are all supported from state funding. Capital costs for technology and facilities can sometimes be supported by state funding, but each dollar spent from the state funding takes that dollar away from direct instruction. Therefore, the state system of school finance requires that school districts periodically ask local taxpayers to support facilities projects. Winona Area Public Schools has not received this kind of voter support through a bond referendum since the construction of the new Middle School 20 years ago.
If the referendum is not successful, our buildings and sites will continue to have significant needs. While some short-term measures have been taken to make schools accessible and secure, there is much work yet to be done. Our needs will not go away. The District would need to study the problem further and ask for community support in the near future.
It is essential to have adequate school security and building entrances that are ADA accessible. The referendum projects will create secure entrances at Jefferson and Washington-Kosciusko Elementary Schools as well as the early childhood entrance at Goodview Elementary school. The bond will support additional security technology at all schools including cameras, strobe lights to be used during a lockdown in areas that might be noisy such as gyms or cafeterias.
Polls will be open from 7am to 8 pm on November 6, 2018. To find your polling place visit: www.mnvotes.sos.mn.us/elections-voting
You can also vote via an absentee ballot. Absentee voting begins September 21, 2018 - November 2, 2018 from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm at the Winona County Building,177 Main
Absentee ballots be requested online, in person or by mail. For more information go to: www.co.winona.mn.us
We have been studying the District’s facilities for years, which has included significant community involvement and input.
- 2015 Community Survey
- Fall 2016 Community Task Force on Facilities established
- Winter 2018 Community Survey
- Spring 2018 Community Task Force reconvened
- Numerous Community Listening Sessions
The School District submitted all required documentation for the proposed improvements to Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) in the form of a “Review & Comment” submittal. The MDE will review all submitted information to ensure that the project is both fiscally sound and educationally appropriate, which is required before a public vote can take place. The Commissioner’s approval will be published in the local paper prior to the referendum vote for confirmation by District residents.