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Forum Communications, Published December 18 2012

Rothsay school official says another vote likely after referendum fails

ROTHSAY, Minn. – After a $24 million bond referendum to build a new school here failed on Monday, district officials may reach out to residents to determine what to do next.

The initiative was defeated by 12 votes, 289 to 277. A simple majority was required to pass.

Superintendent Wayne Schmidt says the fact remains that the building that would have been replaced by the referendum still has several code violations, and the district expect to continue to grow for the next 5 years.

“My advice to the board of education will be that we sit down with the people again and hold another public meeting and say OK we got the message now what do you want us to do?” he said.

Schmidt said it “seems likely” that another vote on renovating or replacing the building will be on the ballot again in the future.

The referendum was for construction on a new 100,000-square-foot pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school building, and also to help pay for a new fire hall and community center. A new space would’ve solved space issues and avoided the costs of trying to modernize the old building, which dates back to 1903, Schmidt said.

If it would’ve passed, the owner of a $70,000 home would’ve seen a $14 tax cut, but taxes on a $100,000 home would’ve gone up $63 a year. Pricier homes and businesses would’ve seen larger tax jumps.