In a press release dated April 4, 2019, the Owatonna School District will be hosting two public information sessions to provide the facts about the upcoming bond referendum for a new high school in Owatonna. Superintendent Jeff Elstad will be presenting the information and will give participants an opportunity to have questions answered. The two sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, at 6:30 pm, and Monday, April 29, at 6:30 pm, both at the Owatonna High School in the Small Group Forum.

There was an email sent out to parents of students in the district with the information about the public information sessions, and there was also a flyer included with some of the facts that led to the decision to have the building bond referendum this year. Here is a brief look at some of the facts that were printed on the flyer:

  • Original building, in 1921, opened with under 100 students on 19 acres of land
  • While the project will cost $138 million, donations from local businesses have brought the amount down to $116 million.
  • The task force studied various options to address the needs at the high school, including maintenance only with a cost of $35 million and renovation os the current high school at a cost of $110 million

There will be a property tax increase, based on the $175,000 median home value, which translates to approximately $273 annually. You can find out what the tax impact on your property is, as well as more information by going to the district's website, here.

If the bond is approved there will be a new facility with capacity for 1,700 students, improved safety, security, and accessibility, flexible learning spaces, and adequate parking and traffic safety improvements. If the bond is not approved, the $22 million plus in-kind donations from local businesses may not be given in the future, construction costs continue to climb each year, lack of parking and pick-up/drop-off space will remain a safety concern, and the ongoing high school maintenance projects will impact the District budget.

Absentee ballots are now available to vote on this building bond referendum and will remain available through May 13th. Voting day is May 14th.

Source: Owatonna School District #761