In response to a facilities study and community survey, the Montevideo School District will put forth two bonding questions to the public at a special election to be held in April.

Dr. Luther Heller, Superintendent of Montevideo Schools, explained. “In January, the school board approved moving forward with a bond referendum which called for two ballot questions.

editor In response to a facilities study and community survey, the Montevideo School District will put forth two bonding questions to the public at a special election to be held in April.

Dr. Luther Heller, Superintendent of Montevideo Schools, explained. “In January, the school board approved moving forward with a bond referendum which called for two ballot questions.

The two questions on the ballot address what the district feels are the most pressing facilities issues facing the district. “The first ballot question is for a new elementary school which will go through grade four,” said Heller. “Also included in that question will be some remodeling of the middle school to accommodate five sections of grades five through eight. In addition, some safety upgrades to the middle school entrance and moving the busing around to the north side of the Middle School would be included as part of the question. We’d like to alleviate the congestion at the front of the school, which has historically been a problem.”

The bulk of the $47.75 million cost of the projects in question one would go toward the construction of the new elementary school, which would accommodate five sections per grade level. “From the time we opened the Sanford building as an education center and moved the kindergarten there because of the size of the kindergarten classes, all of our kindergarten classes coming in have been five section classes,” said Heller.

The second question on the ballot is contingent upon the passage of the first question, and addresses the need for a new Fine Arsts Center. Heller said: “We would like to build a new Fine Arts Center connected to the high school. It would be a 1,200 seat Fine Arts Center, and it would include band and choir rooms, which would be more convenient for moving equipment from the rooms to the stage area. The cost of this project is expected to be $13.28 million.”

The current Fine Arts Center is in tough shape. For many years, water has flooded the basement cafeteria area, and mold is an issue. In addition, all plumbing and electrical is original to the building.

“It was built in 1940,” said Heller, “and it has served it’s purpose very well. It was a nice facility when it was built, but it is worn out.”

The special election will take place on April 14 at the TACC. Polling will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Early voting can also be done at the district office in the Middle School. “Early voting, including absentee ballots, will begin on Feb. 28 and will continue through April 13,” said Dr. Heller. “People can stop by the district office during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, Monday through Friday, and cast their votes.”

All eligible voters in the Montevideo School District are encouraged to vote in the special election. Dr. Heller is expecting a good voter turnout for this election. “We get very good turnout for elections. The last operating referendum had almost a 70 percent turnout, and that’s very good for a school referendum. We want everyone to come out and vote!”

Last Monday, the district unveiled a website that is a micro-site connected to its own district webpage. It contains exhaustive information on the referendum, as the school district wants voters to be fully informed. Heller said: “When people go to our website, at the bottom of the home page is a Montevideo Forward icon. Clicking on that icon will take you to a page that contains a lot of information about the referndum, the proposed projects, and the proposed tax impact for tax payers. Hopefully, we have provided enough information for voters to make an informed decision, whether it is for or against.”