With a proposed bond referendum, Staples-Motley School District re-launched SMTimeToRise.com to share details about the $64.4 million bond referendum question for the special election on April 13.

Since November, the website has served as a resource for residents to learn about the long-term facilities planning process, which addresses the challenges created by the district’s aging facilities, according to a district news release. Residents can now find details about how the district plans to address these challenges, the cost of the facilities plan and information on voting. District officials hope the updated website will help residents make an informed vote.

“The proposed referendum is an enormous opportunity for our schools,” said Shane Tappe, district superintendent, in the release. “But the decision to invest is ultimately up to our residents. The district has prioritized public information and answering our community member’s questions. We hope our communities will find this website helpful and a source of factual information about the referendum.”

If the proposed plan is approved by voters, the referendum would allow the school district to build additions to the existing elementary school and middle/high school to expand classroom and technical education spaces. Renovations throughout both schools would update aging infrastructure, secure entrances and ensure buildings meet federal accessibility standards.

The elementary school would transition into a school for early education through grade 6 and the middle/high school would transition into a school for grades 7-12.

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The facilities plan was developed after dozens of one-on-one and small group meetings with both supporters and opponents of the defeated May 2019 plan to determine a new course of action. Community feedback revealed a preference for renovating and expanding the district’s current facilities instead of building new. The school board embraced that community feedback with the April 2021 plan.

“Renovating represents the greatest value for the district and taxpayers,” Tappe said in the release. “Our hope is that the updated website helps community members collect all the information they need to make an informed vote.”

There will be an increase in taxes related to this referendum passing. The website notes as an example, "If approved by voters, a residential home in the district with a median value of $125,000 would see an estimated tax increase of $23.50 per month." The website includes a tax calculator to help you determine the tax impact of this project on your wallet.

The district encourages all community members to visit SMTimeToRise.com to learn more about the project. A correlating booklet will be mailed to all residents before early voting begins on Feb. 26.

Residents with questions or suggestions are encouraged to contact Superintendent Shane Tappe at shane.tappe@isd2170.k12.mn.us or 218-894-5400.