ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- Five and a half years after flash floods damaged the high school in Rushford, state lawmakers are now considering whether to help Rushford-Peterson Public Schools pay for a new school building.
State taxpayers would contribute up to 75 percent of the cost of a new school building in Rushford, though not more than $20 million of the total cost of such a project, the way the current legislation is written.
By a unanimous vote Tuesday morning, members of the House Education Finance Committee cleared H.F. 366 and sent it along its way. On the Senate side, members of a committee reviewing education matters cleared S.F. 297 and marked it for possible inclusion in the omnibus Capital Investments bill.
Rushford-Peterson teamed up with Moose Lake Public Schools to make a concerted pitch for state help this legislative session to repair flood-damaged school buildings. It follows the rejection of a local referendum in December by voters in the R-P district.
"I must say this is my fifth year at the Legislature," said Chuck Ehler, the R-P Schools Superintendent, after the House panel vote. "But I was very pleased at how things went."
The House version was amended Tuesday morning to require a successful local referendum as a condition for any state money to be awarded to Rushford-Peterson Public Schools. Back on Dec. 19, R-P voters rejected a $15 million bond proposal by a vote of 993 to 658.
The 106-year-old Rushford high school building was aging gracefully until the flooding of August 18-19, 2007. Since then, R-P administrators have been urgently working to create a plan for new school facilities.
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