By Craig Oftedahl
I hope local residents have had the time to find out more about the school board’s plan to reinvest in our schools. Early voting has been underway for more than a month now and Election Day on Nov. 7 is quickly approaching.
The school board plan focuses on necessary improvements and expansion at our Luverne Public Schools’ elementary and middle school/high school buildings. The school board long-range facility plan was developed with input from teachers, other school staff, parents and other local community members.
The school board prioritized those needs through careful evaluation, expert analysis, and meetings and other conversations with community members. Board members believe they arrived at a thoughtfully developed plan that is a solid investment for local taxpayers and will serve the needs of our students, teachers and community far into the future.
Here is an overview of the improvements included in the school board plan addressed in the first ballot question.
•Safer pick-up/drop-off area at the elementary school.
•Secure entrance at the middle school/high school.
•Improved technology access in the elementary school and middle school/high school.
•Three additional elementary classrooms to meet growing demand.
•Renovated elementary special education classrooms, nurse’s office, school office and community education rooms.
•New middle school/high school cafeteria big enough to serve the number of students in the school and accessible to students and others with disabilities.
•Renovation and expansion to make middle school classrooms large enough to meet today’s education needs.
•Additional science labs, music rooms and physical education space in the middle school/high school.
In addition, voters will decide on a second ballot question whether to build a 700-800 seat performing arts center to provide needed space for presentations, musical and theater programs as well as other community events.
If both ballot measures are approved, the monthly tax increase for a home valued at $100,000 is less than $6. Home and business property owners can find out more about their tax impact on the district website. Agricultural property owners should call Ehlers Inc., the district’s financial consultant, at 1-800-552-1171 for specific tax impact information for their property.
I would like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in the school planning process. I’d also like to thank those who have already voted and those who will vote on Nov. 7.
I urge everyone who is reading this to reach out to neighbors, friends and family members and discuss the School Board plan together and make a commitment to vote. Early voting is available at the Rock County Auditor’s Office in Luverne, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 6. Election Day is Nov. 7, with polls open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Luverne High School gym. It is up to us as a community to determine the future of our schools, so please get the facts and vote.
To learn more, please visit the school district website at www.isd2184.net and click on referendum information to find out more about needs in our school building, how the School Board plan addresses them and the impact to taxpayers if approved. If you have additional questions or comments, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 507-283-8088.
Craig Oftedahl is superintendent of Luverne Public Schools.