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Community meeting set to discuss CL-B referendum

CASS LAKE -- Cass Lake-Bena Schools leaders are set to discuss with voters their $37.8 million plan to fix up their schools and build a new one.

School district staff have scheduled a Thursday, Sept. 28, community meeting to discuss a referendum that, if voters approve it this November, would allow the district to bond for the entire cost of a plan to renovate sections of the district’s existing middle and high school buildings and build a new elementary nearby.

The project would also renovate the existing Cass Lake-Bena Elementary into a building for pre-K through second grade and update the district’s Alternative Learning Center and district offices. The hoped-for elementary building would house students in grades 3-5.

The plan is designed to address a number of facilities issues for the school district and make room for a burgeoning student population. In conjunction with some consultants, district staff hosted a series of similar meetings to gauge public support for a referendum and floated several different facilities projects. The $37.8 million option that will be put to voters this fall is one of the more expensive ones shopped then. The School Board voted in August to draft a stripped-down plan that was less than half that cost, but held a special meeting days later to formally send the more expensive plan to the Minnesota Department of Education and Secretary of State for approval.

If voters approve the project, it would tack on an additional $295 in property taxes on a home valued at $150,000, according to documents on Cass Lake-Bena’s website. The impact on a $250,000 seasonal recreational property would be another $583 for taxes payable in 2018.

The referendum vote is scheduled noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.

To verify your polling location: pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

If you go:

What: Cass Lake-Bena Schools’ referendum community meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28

Where: White Earth Community Center, 217 2nd St. NE, Cass Lake, MN.

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education and health for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He is a Minneapolis native and a 2009 graduate of St. John's University. Before moving to Bemidji, Bowen covered education, local politics, crime, and everything in between for the Perham Focus in Perham, Minnesota, and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis.

(218) 333-9798
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