Voters approve $275 million ISD 622 bond

Residents of the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District voted in support of the district’s request for money to improve schools. 

The $275 million bond request passed by a margin of 61% to 38% following the May 14 referendum. 

“We are so grateful to our community for this vote of support,” said Superintendent Christine Osorio in a district statement. “These improvements will impact students and families for years to come.”

The district said the $275 million translates to a $5 per month property tax increase for the owner of home valued at $200,000. 

The bond money will be used to upgrade security and classrooms throughout ISD 622. The district said it will improve air quality, and other health factors, purchase modern furniture and create flexible classroom spaces. 

Facilities will be consolidated for “more equitable and efficient schools,” said the statement. Nine elementary schools will be consolidated into seven larger, updated schools.  

The three middle schools currently in the district will be reduced to two renovated schools, each acting as a direct pipeline to the district’s two high schools, North and Tartan.

The district plans to close Maplewood Middle School on Holloway Avenue, Oakdale Elementary on Glenbrook Avenue and Webster Elementary on Seventh Avenue in North St. Paul. 

Skyview Middle School on Heron Avenue, John Glenn Middle School on Country Road B and Carver Elementary School on Upper Afton Road, all in Maplewood, will be renovated and expanded according to district plans.

The new schools will be an elementary school on an existing Maplewood site, and a new Eagle Point Elementary where it currently stands on 15th Street in Oakdale. 

The district said detailed design planning for the schools will begin soon, and that the hope is to open new buildings in the fall of 2022. 

“The district will engage the community in the boundary change process that will be the result of the school consolidations,” the district statement said. “Boundary changes won’t take effect until fall 2022 when the updated and new buildings open.”

 

 

State context

ISD 622’s bond was not the only to pass on May 14. Including the district’s $275 million request, Minnesota voters approved nearly $540 million worth of funds to improve schools.

In all, 15 bonds were up for vote. Seven passed, funding plans for districts around the state. 

The requests that were voted down, totaling some $250 million in improvements, were all in greater Minnesota, said the state’s teachers union, Education Minnesota, in a statement. 

“Some Minnesota students will soon be learning in new classrooms filled with natural light while others will go to schools with asbestos, leaking roofs and brown water coming from the taps,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “We live in a wealthy state, in the richest nation in the world. This is a scandal.”

The union said legislators should increase investments for all students, across the state, and reverse “the growing dependence on local levies.”

 

–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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