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During the spring and summer of 2018, we asked the community for input on the facility challenges we are facing as a district. Residents provided feedback at public meetings and in a community-wide survey, and a resounding 83% of respondents said they supported the need to improve facilities in our district to better serve our students.

Our School Board, in partnership with our community-based Facilities and Finance Committees, evaluated the options to address the problems we are facing, which include inadequate instructional settings, facilities that are not up to code, and increasing maintenance costs to maintain our aging buildings. 

The goal was to find a cost-effective solution that will continue to propel our community forward with a strong, sustainable, and successful school district.

 Please read through the information provided for a detailed look at our facility challenges and proposed solutions.

Why Now?

The school board is proposing a plan that will address the district’s most critical needs. It provides an improved instructional model and a direct benefit to students. This includes:

  • School security and student safety
  • Aging Elementary building
  • Science, Career, and Technical Education
  • ADA Compliance

School security and student safety

As a school district, ensuring a safe and secure environment for our students is our number one priority. This plan includes building a singular, secure entrance within the renovation/addition at the elementary school. It also includes remodeling the middle/high school to create a singular, secure entrance.

Aging Elementary building

The district is facing increasingly high maintenance costs at our elementary building, which was last updated in 1988. Issues include failing roofs, leaking windows and doors, failing HVAC and plumbing systems, an outdated and often-used elevator, non-ADA-compliant restrooms, and a gym floor that is unsuitable for many athletic events and activities.

Science, Career, and Technical Education

The district strives to give students the skills and education they need to be successful in life after graduation. Career and Technical education offers students a comprehensive set of skills designed to give them practical work experiences. This practical training and technical subject matter can prepare students for higher education as well as a full-time job. Two-thirds of US companies are reporting a shortage of qualified applicants for technical positions, and these classes help prepare students for lucrative and rewarding work, with or without a 4 year degree.

With this in mind, this plan includes the expansion of the FAB and Auto labs and STEM/Robotics classrooms, as well as a renovation of our science labs, which are over 60 years old. 

Athletic Upgrades and ADA Compliance

Portions of our Middle/High School Campus and athletic facilities are not currently code-compliant . This plan includes fixes for those issues, including sidewalk access to all athletic fields and remodeling bathrooms and locker rooms to ensure the district is meeting ADA requirements.

This plan also addresses the capacity issues in the high school gym by removing the old, unused stage and creating more seating for high-attendance events.

What is the Plan?

Our district's lementary building was last updated in 1988. With the physical decline of the building over the years comes costly facility issues like indoor air quality, poor tempature control, and failing roofs. This plan gets rid of the elementary school's current inefficient layout and includes a 52,000 square ft addition and 28,000 square ft renovation. 

At our Middle/High School campus, this plan addresses a number of important issues, including the implementation of a secure entrance to address school safety concerns. In addition, the plan addresses the district's accessibility issues with current restroom, locker room, and athletic facilities and includes plans to remodel the 60+ year old science classrooms and expand the current career and technical classrooms (this includes the woods, metal, and auto shops as well as the FACS classrooms). 

These needs will be addressed in two questions on the ballot in Spring 2019.

As a district, we strive to manage taxpayer dollars wisely. 

School property taxes are among the lowest of our neighboring districts. If the both question #1 and question #2 are approved, the property tax increase on a $200,000 home, the average home value in the La Crescent-Hokah School District, would be $327 per year, or $27 per month.

 

PLUS: You may qualify for tax relief.

The new School building Bond Agricultural Credit means that 40% of the cost of existing, proposed, and future construction bond issues on agricultural land will be paid for by the State of Minnesota. The remaining 60% will be assessed to property under the existing formula. Dwelling value of the homestead agricultural property (house, garage, and 1 acre) does not qualify for the credit.

More FAQ's coming soon!

What's the difference between a levy and a bond?

Levies are for learning. Bonds are for buildings.

  • The operating levy that was passed in the fall of 2017 has given the district funds to continue running high-quality educational programs. 
  • Bond levies are funds that a district uses for construction and renovation of facilities.
  • The Spring 2019 Referendum is for a bond levy to pay for construction and renovation at both our Elementary and Middle/High Schools.

Didn't we just approve a referendum?

La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools voters approved the renewal of an operating levy in 2017. This is different from a bond levy, the last referendum for which was approved in 1998. 

Why are quality educational facilities important?

There are direct links between the condition of schools and the school's ability to educate. Research shows that factors like poor temperature control, indoor air quality, and lighting can negatively affect student learning. In addition, quality schools play a strong role in attracting families and jobs to a community.

I don't have any students in the district. Why should I support this referendum?

Public schools function not just as educational institutions, but as community institutions as well. Research shows that adults and seniors will benefit from a stronger local economy, a better-skilled workforce, and higher property values. School improvements lead directly to better student performance and as a result- more valuable communities. 

Schools are more than just educational institutions. They strengthen civic life and attract families and jobs to a community.

Are there other tax relief opportunities besides the AG2School Credit?

Yes. There are a number of tax relief opportunities provided by the State of Minnesota.

  • Homeowner's Homestead Credit Refund: Owners of homesteaded property with incomes under $110,650 may be eligible for a refund. Learn more here.
  • Special Homestead Credit Refund: Owners of homesteaded property that experience a net property tax increase of 12 percent or $100 over the prior year may be eligible for a refund. Learn more here.
  • Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program: Learn more about this program here.