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Bond vote fails again but gets closer

For the third time in the past year and a half, Lake Park-Audubon (Minn.) School District voters have defeated a tax increase to fund new school facilities.

For the third time in the past year and a half, Lake Park-Audubon (Minn.) School District voters have defeated a tax increase to fund new school facilities.

The $26.1 million bond referendum failed by a vote of 1,045 to 1,138 Tuesday in complete and official results.

"We're disappointed. We were disappointed in November, but we've gained a couple of percentage points, so we're getting closer," said Superintendent Dale Hogie.

In November, the referendum failed by 204 votes. Voters also defeated a referendum in December 2005 for a different facilities plan.

This referendum would have funded a new grade seven through 12 building in Lake Park and a renovated elementary school with some new construction in Audubon.


It would have cost the owner of a $100,000 property about $236 a year for 25 years.

"The board will re-evaluate our situation and determine what the next steps are," Hogie said. "We have not had any discussion about where we're going from here."

The communities of Lake Park and Audubon were divided over the issue. Two community groups formed, one supporting the building bond referendum and one opposed to it.

Those who supported the referendum said their children would be at a competitive disadvantage without it because LP-A students would not get the same educational opportunities as students from other schools.

Those opposed to it didn't want to pay more taxes.

"We're still battling misinformation and misunderstanding," Hogie said. "We felt that we did a good job getting the information out, but obviously we have some people who don't totally understand the proposal and don't understand the significance of addressing our facilities."

The district runs a K-6 school in Audubon and a 7-12 school in Lake Park. Both have been expanded several times and need major repairs.

The buildings are old, operating at capacity and can't support current technology.


There are also safety concerns. In areas where food is served, the water has to run for 10 minutes to clear the lead out before it can be used. Sections of the buildings cannot be secured. The temperature can be 90 degrees in one part of the high school and 60 degrees in another.

Just doing essential repairs would cost an estimated $10 million and would not address academic or safety concerns, school leaders said, adding that the buildings themselves are valued at $3 million.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

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