From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Shakopee approves putting $89 million referendum on ballot for new high school

Posted by: Erin Adler Updated: December 24, 2013 - 1:10 PM

The Shakopee school board approved putting a $89 million bond referendum on the ballot in March 2014 by a 6-1 vote last week. The vast majority of the money, $78 million, would go toward building a new high school to accommodate the large current junior high classes and any enrollment growth.

The proposal would add about $156 in property taxes annually, or $13 a month, to a $200,000 home in Shakopee, said Superintendent Rod Thompson.

If the referendum passes, the new facility would open in 2017 and be very similar to the current high school, built in 2007.

"I want folks to know that this is a three-year process. We're in '13, and this started in '10," Thompson said.

One board member, Steve Schneider, voiced concern that the board hadn't fully researched whether the district had "hit a critical mass" in terms of enrollment. "By that I mean, if we wait one year, is it really going to make a lot of difference?" he asked.

Board member Mary Romansky said that though she initially opposed building another high school and splitting up the community, she's now in favor of a new school and the referendum.

"It was not an easy decision for me to say, 'Yes, we need two high schools,'" she said. "But if you can convince me, I think we can convince the rest of Shakopee that this is the best way for the students. There is no other alternative."

Having the vote in the spring will give the board and district officials time to make their case with different groups of voters, Thompson said.

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