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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 14 2012

$24M Rothsay school vote Monday

ROTHSAY, Minn. – Voters here will be asked Monday to approve

$24 million in bonds to build a new pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school, and to help pay for a new fire hall and community center.

An hourlong question-and-answer session will be held at 9 a.m. today in the school gymnasium, Superintendent Warren Schmidt said Friday.

Monday’s vote will be from 4 to 8 p.m. at the school. The referendum requires a simple majority to pass.

Schmidt said a new building will solve space issues and avoid the cost of trying to modernize the old building, parts of which date to 1903.

Rothsay’s public school had 213 students at the end of the 2010-11 school year, but now has about 260 students in grades pre-K through 12, Schmidt said.

The cost to bring the 47,000-square-foot school up to modern building codes is about $6.9 million, Schmidt said.

Another 53,000 square feet of new space is also needed, Schmidt said. The new construction at $182 per square foot would cost about $9,646,000.

That brings the overall cost to $16,546,000.

A new 100,000-square- foot school would cost about $18.2 million.

The district plans to buy an 18-acre site along Interstate 94 for a new school.

The current site is about 8.6 acres, plus three acres for the football stadium in a separate location.

Some money from the bond issue will be used to demolish part of the old school, and create a community center in the remainder, Schmidt said.

Some funds will build a new fire hall, with the district entering into a lease/purchase agreement with the city, he said.

Other costs include land acquisition, architectural and attorney’s fees, and equipment, Schmidt said.

If the bond issue passes, the district has promised to reduce its tax for per pupil costs by up to $1,500, so some homeowners could see a tax cut.

The owner of a $70,000 home would pay $14 a less a year, according to figures from the Roseville firm Ehlers and Associates.

Taxes on a $100,000 home would be $63 higher a year; a $150,000 home would be $226 higher; and a $200,000 home would be $388 more.

A $100,000 business would pay $615 more in taxes, and a $250,000 business would pay $1,890 more.

Agricultural properties can vary in taxes, said Gary Olsen, a financial adviser and vice president of Ehlers.

A $400,000 agricultural homesteaded property might see taxes rise $1,121, while a $1 million homesteaded property might go up $3,237.

Non-homesteaded farmland could be taxed $10.58 to $24.69 an acre, depending on its value.

Olsen said owners of ag property can call his firm at (800) 552-1171 with their property identification numbers and the county its located and they will do the tax calculation.

Farmers can also email mnschools@ehlers-inc.com to have a calculation made.


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Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583