Referendum request would keep Henderson school open

·2 min read

Jul. 21—LE SUEUR — Voters in the Le Sueur-Henderson School District will see two questions on their November ballot.

The Le Sueur-Henderson School Board on Monday decided to move forward with a request to increase taxes to replace the elementary school in Le Sueur and remodel the elementary school in Henderson. The district also will ask voters to fund a new field house.

In addition, the board considered but decided not to propose consolidating the elementary schools.

The elementary improvements will cost about $50 million if approved. Park Elementary would be rebuilt on its current site and Hilltop Elementary would be updated.

For the owner of an average home in the district — valued at $175,000 — taxes would increase by about $350 a year.

Supt. Jim Wagner said a community survey indicated most respondents agreed something needs to be done to address the aging elementary buildings. But respondents were pretty evenly spit, Wagner said, on whether to keep Hilltop Elementary open.

Consolidating to a single new elementary building near the secondary school would have cost slightly less to build and would have yielded a greater annual reduction in operating and transportation costs. But it would have left Henderson without a district school in its boundaries.

The district also will ask voters for a $7.5 million field house. It would include a running track and a flexible space that would host athletic and other school and community events.

Passage of the field house request is contingent on passage of the elementary school improvements. That means voters cannot approve the field house but not the elementary project, but they can approve the elementary schools and not the field house.

More tax impact estimates for both referendum questions will be calculated and shared with property owners in coming weeks, Wagner said.

Agricultural property owners, who are exempt from paying operating referendum taxes, are taxed on building referendums. But the state now pays for over half of the bill on farmland and the credit soon will increase to 70%.

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