Early voting for the $64.4 million Staples-Motley school bond referendum on April 13 is now open.

District residents can vote early through April 12 at the Staples-Motley district office weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, or by following the instructions found at www.smtimetorise.com/vote.

Mail-in ballots can be submitted by mail or returned in-person to the district office. Mailed ballots must be returned by Election Day (April 13) in order to be counted.

If approved, the referendum would provide new additions and major renovations to the elementary and middle/high schools. The improvements would create new spaces for career and technical education, high school athletics and the fine arts.

The infrastructure would also be modernized to meet state recommendations for health and safety, according to a letter to community members from the school district.

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The bond referendum addresses all of the school's deferred maintenance needs and provides a long-term investment for generations to come. If the referendum fails, there is a board-approved Plan B that would only address a portion of the deferred maintenance. Plan B will still raise taxes, does not require voter approval and will require additional, ongoing investments in the future.

You can learn more about early voting and the investment plan by visiting SMTimeToRise.com. You can also reach out to the district office with any questions at 218-894-5400.