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Column: District 518 bond referendum vote is Tuesday

District 518 brownhouse

WORTHINGTON — On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Independent School District 518 will be asking district residents to participate in a bonding referendum election to determine if the school district can bond for money to construct an intermediate school. The ballot will include two questions focused on addressing space, safety and security needs by building a new intermediate school and a third question looking refinance existing bonds so that they qualify for the Ag2School Credit.

The first question looks for permission for the school board to borrow up to $26.7 million to construct an intermediate school for 600 students in grades 4 and 5. This building would be constructed on the Crailsheim site owned by ISD 518. The dollar amount of this question has been reduced by the school board, who committed $5 million to fund question one. This ballot question addresses the issues currently facing the district and would free up space within Prairie Elementary and Worthington Middle School by shifting up to 600 students from grades 4 and 5 to the newly constructed building.

The second question on the referendum ballot can only pass if the first question also passes. This question, if passed along with question one, would allow ISD 518 to bond for up to an additional $7 million to include a third grade in the new intermediate school proposed in the first question. If both question one and question two pass, the district will bond for up to $33.7 million to construct a three-grade school for 900 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at the Crailsheim site. The passing of questions one and two looks ahead to the projected enrollment growth of the district and the space, safety and security issues that will arise in the future as these projections continue to come to fruition.

The third and final question on the Nov. 5 referendum election ballot stands separate from the first two questions. This question is not asking for any additional borrowing, but instead something more akin to a refinancing. The third questions would allow ISD 518 to refinance the district’s $14 million 2017A bond. This question’s passage would make those funds available for the Minnesota State Ag2School tax credit. The Ag2School tax credit provides relief to agricultural land owners in our district by shifting a portion of the monetary burden from them to the state of Minnesota who have approved the tax credit. This state tax credit will increase incrementally until it reaches 70% in 2023.

This information is available in a video format that can be viewed on the district’s main web page at www.isd518.net. The video does a great job of visualizing this information and giving a brief description as well as cost estimates. Another great piece of information that was made available are the postcards that all landowners in District 518 should have received. These postcards show the impact of the proposed referendum for every parcel owned within the school district.

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Referendum election day is Tuesday, Nov. 5 with polling taking place a single location, Lakeside Church. The polling place is located at 1000 Linda Lane in Worthington. If you have any questions concerning the upcoming referendum, please reach out to the school district for more information. You can contact ISD 518 by calling the district office at 372-2172 or by email at admindistrict@isd518.net. Information is also available at www.building518excellence.com and ISD 518’s webpage, www.isd518.net as well as the district’s social media pages.

Parker Sandhurst is District 518's communications coordinator.

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