No school bond vote this March in ISD 831

School board says timing not right, new information will help process

Cliff Buchan
News Editor

There will be no school bond vote in Forest Lake School District 831 this March to address capital building needs.

The school board put that topic to rest on Thursday, Jan. 5, saying the timing was not right and more study of bonding needs was warranted. The board voted 7-0 at its first meeting of the new year to put the topic on hold.

In doing so, the board went on record indicating that needs still remain, but will have to wait.

The motion to put the election on hold came in response to a board decision in March 2011 that directed the administration to product a bond recommendation based on the work of the gap analysis report. The motion called for consideration of a bond referendum in March 2012.

The gap analysis found a wide ranging list of capital needs that topped $100 million. In November of 2010, the school board saw a capital bond proposal calling for $24 million in spending soundly defeated at the polls.

“The building and grounds committee reviewed the gap analysis report and concluded that the needs listed still exist and that the cost of the items listed, in general, are accurate,” Superintendent Linda Madsen said last week. She said the administration concurs with the committee conclusion.

Based on the state of the economy and the fact a new gap analysis study is set to begin, Madsen said it would be prudent to not move forward at this time.

“Even though the needs still exist that are identified in the gap analysis report, administration recommends the school board does not authorize a bond referendum for March 2012,” Madsen said.

The new gap analysis will be finished by August of this year and should give the district a fresh look at building improvements, facilities, technology and health and safety issues, Madsen said. The new report will provide research to assist the board in any future bond election that would go before voters.

Board members were in agreement that the delay was necessary.

“The needs don’t cheaper, they get more expensive,” member Karen Morehead said. “This makes it very clear.”

Board President Rob Rapheal said the timing was not right this year. Although the list of needs is long and expensive, he offered that the best way to attack the list is with smaller bonds that take care of needs in stages.

Member Erin Turner said the needs are “real and serious,” but the board was being cognizant of family budgets

2012 Appointments

The board on Jan. 5 also completed a series of appointments and designations.

As part of its routine action items, the board:

•Appointed new board member Gail Theisen as representative to ECSU, the Metropolitan Educational Cooperative Service Unit.

•Appointed new board member Julie Corcoran as representative to Minnesota School Boards Association.

•Appointed former board member as representative to TIES, the Technology Information Education Service of which ISD 831 is one of 46 members. Grafft is vice-chairman of the TIES Board and will continue in that role.

•Appointed Dan Kieger as representative to the Minnesota State High School League.

•Appointed Morehead as representative to the East Metro Integration District of which Forest Lake is a member.

•Appointed board members Kathy Bystrom and Rapheal as representatives to Schools for Equity in Education.

•Appointed Morehead board liaison to the city of Forest Lake.

•Appointed Turner, Theisen and Bystrom as representatives to the Curriculum, Instruction and School Health Committee.

•Appointed Dr. Julie Kammer of the Allina Clinic, Forest Lake, as school doctor.

•Appointed Springsted, Inc. and Ehlers & Associates, Inc. as fiscal consultants.

•Appointed three law firms as legal counsel: Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney; Kennedy & Graven; and Morrison, Fenske & Sund.

•Designated the Forest Lake Times as official school newspaper.

•Approved continued participation in the Adult Basic Education Consortium (Metro North ABE).

•Set dates and starting times for school board meetings with the regular business meeting at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the monthly and regular committee and bill paying meetings to 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

•Designated the following banks as official depositories: US Bank, Wells Fargo, LaSalle Bank, PMA Financial Network, Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund, First State Bank of Wyoming, Security State Bank of Marine, Central Bank of Forest Lake, Patriot Bank Minnesota of Forest Lake, Lake Area Bank of Forest Lake, TCF and Frandsen Bank & Trust of Forest Lake.