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White Bear Lake school bond referendum largest request in Minnesota history

Updated: October 24, 2019 06:39 PM

The White Bear Lake School District is hoping voters approve the largest-ever referendum in Minnesota. The district is asking for more than $300 million that would go toward a new elementary school and addition to the high school.

More than 8,000 students walk the hallways in schools throughout the district, but projections show the district will hit 10,000 students within the next 10 years. 

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That's part of the reason for a $326 million bond referendum on the ballot Nov. 5th.

For a median-valued home in the district of $275,000, it would cost $28 per month.

"The $326 million, it is a large ask of our community, but in terms of what the tax impact is, it is not an outlier when we compare ourselves to our neighbors," said Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak.

The district said every school would see some of the money for classroom updates, media center improvements, and security upgrades.

"Each site is a little bit different, each site has its own challenges, but we intend to address as many of the needs as we can," he said.

Larger sums would go toward new schools, like the proposed elementary school to be built in Hugo just off Highway 61. About 720 new students would fill the roughly $44 million building.

"As we are seeing growth in the north, we need to add capacity there," Kazmierczak said.

White Bear Lake Area Schools to send $326 million referendum to voters

Another $180 million would go to White Bear Lake High School's north campus.

Currently only ninth and 10th-graders go there. The juniors and seniors have their own campus a few miles away. The district wants to add onto the school to create a unified high school for all four classes.

"There is no other high schools in Minnesota that are split the way we are, in fact, we're only aware of five in the entire United States that are set up this way," he shared.

Kazmierczak said the 66-acre site is big enough for a 3,400-student school, which is the expected growth of the high school population in 10 years.

There have been concerns about the district using eminent domain to take homes to expand the high school, but the district said eminent domain is not part of the school plan.

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Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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