November 14, 2017
ISD 318 Chooses April for Public Vote on Elementary School Plan
At the School Board meeting on November 14, ISD 318 Superintendent Joni Olson recommended that the Board target April 10, 2018 for a referendum vote on the facilities plan developed by the Elementary Facilities Taskforce, rather than a February date that was under consideration.
“I believe we have an excellent plan for increasing and modernizing our elementary schools in Grand Rapids and Cohasset,” explained Superintendent Olson. “However, there are a few minor details to finalize, and two more months will allow our residents the opportunity to look more carefully at the plan.”
Superintendent Olson is recommending that the district review enrollment patterns. In addition, an Activities Facilities Taskforce has requested additional time to gather public input on their proposal to improve the athletic and marching band areas in Grand Rapids and locker room facilities in Bigfork. If a question regarding activity improvements were to appear on the ballot, it would be separate from an elementary school question.
The school district is also continuing to look for partners to help reduce costs to taxpayers. An April 10 election means that the Review and Comment, which details the plan, the cost, and partnerships, will not be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education until January 10, 2018. This gives the school district several more months to work with local communities and community organizations to seek additional commitments to support the plan.
School districts are limited to holding referendum elections to five times a year – February, April, May, August, or November.
“Local residents are asking terrific questions about the plan – and they deserve the best answers from the district,” Olson said. “As we look ahead, an April election will give us time for a strong community discussion, while still allowing us to be ready for the 2018 construction season.”
The elementary school plan includes two K-5 neighborhood schools of 750 students and a 300-student community school in Cohasset that will also serve K-5 students. Additional details are available here on the district website. Questions and comments from the community are welcomed at 218-327-5723 and firstname.lastname@example.org.