Big Lake Schools will be holding an election on November 2 asking voters to approve a crucial school funding measure to restore and renew our facilities. A frequently asked question that we receive is “How is this a $0 tax increase?” The simple answer is this: the bond referendum that financed the construction of Liberty Elementary (along with additions to the High School and Middle School, and improvements to Independence Elementary School), will be paid off on February 1, 2022. With this debt expiring, we are asking our community to reinvest in our facilities while maintaining the current tax rate.
An analogy to describe this process is much like purchasing a car. Each month, you have a monthly payment until your car is paid off. Now, once the car is paid off, you have additional money each month that you can utilize on other projects or purchases. You could utilize this money to make critical improvements to your home or update home appliances that may be older and don’t function as well anymore.
Much like the car analogy, our school buildings are a second home to our students and have pressing maintenance needs. With the previous bond referendum payments expiring, this is an opportune time to reinvest in our facilities with low interest rates while maintaining fiscal responsibility for our tax payers. A few of the projects that need to be completed include:
• Liberty Elementary’s roof. When constructed in 2002, Liberty Elementary had a roof with a 15 year life span installed. The roof is now 18 years old and in need of replacement.
• Portions of the Middle School roof. Portions of the Middle School roof, including the 1987 and 2001 addition need replacing.
• Independence Elementary’s HVAC system. The 1981 HVAC system at Independence Elementary STEM is in need of replacement. This replacement would include a better air quality handling system as well as air conditioning.
• Special Education spaces at the Middle School. Special Education spaces at the Middle School were constructed in 1997 and are in need of redesign to reflect the current learning needs of our students.
• Building control systems. Building control systems across the district are 24 years old. The computer systems they operate on are no longer able to support the aging control panels.
For more information including a full list of projects, voting information, or answers to other questions, please visit referendum.biglakeschools.org or reach out to me directly at 763-262-2536.
Early voting has already begun and on November 2 votes may be cast at Big Lake City Hall from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. I hope that you make it a priority to vote in this upcoming election and encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to vote as well.
Tim Truebenbach is the superintendent of the Big Lake School District.