Board says yes to $6.9M project
The Blue Earth Area School Board voted Monday night to proceed with selling bonds for a large $6.99 million project for the middle and elementary school buildings.
The project will include switching from steam heat to hot water heat, replacing boilers, heating pipes, wall units and air exchangers throughout the building.
The board has been studying the project for some time. At Monday’s meeting in Delavan they voted to proceed with the financing, which means they intend to proceed with the project.
One resolution was for issuing general obligation capital improvement bonds in the amount of $820,000.
The second resolution was to also issue $6.17 million in general obligation alternative facilities bonds.
Superintendent Dale Brandsoy also reported the property tax implications of the bonds.
“This size project can scare you,” Brandsoy says. “But it will have a minimal impact on your taxes.”
Brandsoy says the school’s portion of property tax on a $100,000 home will increase $21 due to the project’s bond repayments.
“Taxes will increase from $213 to $234 on that size home,” Brandsoy says. “On ag land, 80 acres with a $100,000 home will increase from $324 to $396 or $72.”
Brandsoy says there are many school districts across the state that are asking for excess levy referendums that will have far more dramatic impacts on local taxes than these amounts.
Both resolutions for the issuance of bonds were unanimous.
Brandsoy also reported to the board that the Minnesota Department of Education had reviewed the overall project and had given it a favorable review and comment.
The project is expected to be completed over the next two summers.
In other business, Brandsoy told the board that the numbers of students on the free and reduced meal program continues to climb.
“Last year we had 50.2 percent of our students on the free and reduced lunch and breakfast program,” he says. “This year it has increased a little, to 50.7 percent.”
Brandsoy says that the real increase has come in the number of students who receive free meals, as opposed to the reduced meal costs.
“The number of students receiving free meals has increased from 31 percent to 38 percent this year,” the superintendent says. “It is a real good program, providing free breakfasts and lunches to students who need them.”
Brandsoy says he encourages parents to check with his office to see if they qualify for the program and then apply if they do.
“It is all kept very confidential,” he says. “The information stays in my office and is not shared with other departments in the school.”