Pine Island voters to decide on bond referendum - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Pine Island voters to decide on bond referendum

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PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) -- On Tuesday, May 13, voters in Pine Island will decide whether to build a new school in the district. The bond referendum could spend nearly $40 million for a new pre-kindergarten to fourth grade facility, new auditorium at the existing site and athletic improvements.

Superintendent Tammy Berg-Beniak said the goal of the referendum is to meet the immediate needs of the district and be prepared for future growth.

“We know it's a burden for our community but we really feel it's the best for our students and for the community," said Berg-Beniak.

The school district is proposing a two-question bond.

The first question asks voters to approve a total of $33.25 million for a new pre-kindergarten to fourth grade facility and additions, remodeling, and maintenance at the existing facility to serve students in grades 5-12.

The second question proposes $6.5 million for a new auditorium at the existing site and athletic improvements.

Brandon and Heather Sampson moved to Pine Island so their three children could attend a school with good academic, music and sports programs.

"We purposefully moved to Pine Island because we heard what a great school they had and we wanted our son to start his schooling here," said Heather Sampson.

The family recently noticed the limited space of the school’s facilities when they attended the third grade music concert.

"Families that were there were actually sitting on the floor because the bleachers were all full,” said Heather Sampson. “When I go in to volunteer in the classrooms, the hallways are full of students."

The referendum would provide an answer for the school’s problem of space, but could cost taxpayers.

"For me, it's a simple answer,” said Brandon Sampson. “I want to see the community of Pine Island continue to thrive and continue to grow and be a vibrant community. And by doing that and by voting and supporting this type of growth, that's what we're doing."

The impact on the yearly property tax of the average home owner would total $268 per year for question one and $52 per year for question two. Those opposed to the project said they’re concerned about the increase in property taxes.

“We’ve made the presentation more than 20 times to the community. Today, marked our last one, we visited the senior center,” said Berg-Beniak. “Really our goal is to not necessarily convince people how to vote, but to make sure that we've informed voters."

The polls will open on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Pine Island.

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