Residents in ISD #381 to Vote on Two-Question Referendum Nov. 2

Question One Wouldn't Increase Taxes for Residents, Question Two Would

SILVER BAY, Minn. – This fall, leadership from Lake Superior School District is hoping residents will vote yes on two big referendum questions.

“This school is the center of this community,” said Joe Nicklay, principal at William Kelley Schools in Silver Bay.

Nicklay knows how important his building is when it comes to developing the future.

“We have teachers who want to work here that are coming from the Duluth areas because of the school that’s here. They love the school and the community feels that it has,” said Nicklay.

With a strong sense of community pride, Nicklay knows the only thing needing improvement is the structure, safety, and security of the decades-old building which houses Pre-K through 12th grades.

“Our classrooms are outdated, the furniture is outdated, we have old tile in there that need to be removed for safety concerns,” said Nicklay.

Lake Superior School District superintendent Jay Belcastro says the referendum needs to pass in order to improve function, safety, and a 21st century model of learning.

“William Kelley, a big, beautiful, historic building, but needs a lot of upgrades and facelifts, and a lot of ADA compliance issues,” said Belcastro. “I think the taxpayer understands the time is now, low-interest rates, levy neutral, needs, it really makes a lot of sense.”

Question one voters will face has a price tag of just under $45 million. Being levy neutral, taxpayers wouldn’t see an increase on their bill if it passed.

“Much needed improvements at two of the three sites,” said Belcastro.

The money would fund safety enhancements, a new wing at William Kelley, and improvements to become fully ADA accessible.

“Unfortunately with these classrooms we have that are standalone, it doesn’t lead to collaboration,” said Belcastro.

In Two Harbors, Minnehaha Elementary would see a new cafetorium, increases in classroom size, and a long list of mechanical upgrades including enhancements to the safety and security of the building.

“Both communities are very proud, but we know we can do better when it comes to the experience of what it’s like to be in our schools,” said Belcastro.

Question two on the referendum would require additional payment from the taxpayer.

“That would address some athletic needs, so it would be turfing the field at William Kelley in Silver Bay, and the football stadium and practice field at THHS, as well as an all-weather track, a new concession, and restroom facility in Silver Bay,” said Belcastro.

“It’s time we upgrade it to be competitive with other schools in the area,” said Nicklay.

With early voting now available, Belcastro and Nicklay now urge residents of all ages to invest in the future of these young learners.

“We’re dealing with furniture from the 50s, although it functions, it’s time for the kids and our community to experience what it means to be in a 21st-century learning experience,” said Belcastro. “We have awesome staff, we just have older buildings. So awesome staff, awesome facilities really equals an awesome experience.”

If not before, residents living within the district will have the chance to vote on the two questions on November 2nd.

The district has put together a website with more in-depth information and details. Click here for more information.

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