$56-Million Dollar Bond Referendum Election in Cloquet

Two Questions on the Ballot, Feb. 10th Vote

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The Cloquet School District is calling for a $56–million dollar bond referendum.

It’s a hefty sum of cash that some people said is financially irresponsible.

The district is already in the red, but repairs and upgrades are something the district feels is necessary to give students the best education possible.

As with any controversy, others see it from a different perspective – one that may not be financially realistic.

Vote “No” Advocates told us their perspective on the issue has nothing to do with the quality of education in Cloquet, something they said is superior, instead their worries hinged on finances.

There will be two questions on the February 10th ballot.

The first question pertains to funds for building a new middle school on the same campus as the high school, as well as improving school security, and making maintenance repairs at other district buildings.

The second ballot question will include adding an 800–seat auditorium on to the proposed middle school.

It’s something Vote “Yes” advocates said is necessary and financially responsible.
“We just know that the costs are going to be snow–balling with that building and the costs to build are also going to be rising, so we want to make sure we do it right and we do it in the way that is financially responsible,” said Lara Wilkinson, a Vote “Yes” Supporter.

Vote “No” supporters said the district wants to spend all this money, but doesn’t have a long–term maintenance plan in place.

Their concern is that when other buildings in the district need repairs down the road there won’t be any extra funds.

Plus, they said it’s a financial burden for some community members to be taxed these extra dollars.

“About 50–percent of our students are already on free and reduced lunches and those families are already struggling. The district is throwing out a number that it’s only going to cost us 10–dollars a month. Well, for a family that is already struggling to feed their kids for lunch, 10–dollars is already quite a bit, said Richard Colsen, a Vote “No” Supporter.

The district estimates the average tax impact will be around $10-dollars per month on a $130,000 home if both ballot questions pass.

The vote is set for Tuesday, February 10th, at the Armory National Guard in Cloquet.

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