FAQ's / Responses

Email Referendum questions or comments to:

referendum@faribault.k12.mn.us


  • How will security be addressed at all the buildings?
    • At all facilities except the Middle School, a secure vestibule directly next to the main entry will be constructed so that visitors need to “check-in” with office staff before entering the building.
    • At the Middle School (where there already is a secure vestibule), there will be some light renovation to improve circulation and enhance visitor experience.
    • The latest safety measures and systems would be installed throughout the building, included updated PA systems and security cameras.
  • Will the community be able to use the Event Center?
    • The Event Center, which includes additional multi-purpose space, a walking track, and gymnasiums would be made available to the public.  
  • How will changing educational trends affect our spaces?
    • The designs of the buildings will be developed with input from students, staff, and the community to be adaptable and flexible to accommodate changing curriculum and technology needs. There are renovations planned at all buildings to support today’s educational needs while keeping future flexibility in mind. The former Kindergarten rooms at the Elementary Schools will be renovated into flexible learning and maker space. At the Middle School, the Media Center and core of the building will be renovated to create flexible learning space and improve building circulation. At the High School, the technical education wing will be renovated to better support career readiness.

 

  • What if during the construction process, we come across something we didn't anticipate? Have we budgeted for that?
    • Yes, unforeseen conditions are accounted for in the project budget.  A standard practice in construction is to have what is called a contingency budget.  This budget includes funds which are set aside to address the inevitable “surprises” that occur during any building project. Typically, a contingency budget is approximately 5% of the total construction budget.

 

  • Will taxes for the bond change based on your property value from year to year?
    • This project calls for bonds to be repaid over a period of 20 years. It is likely that property values will fluctuate during the 20 year repayment period. As the District’s tax base increases or as property values increase or decrease, the tax impact on the different properties within the School District will fluctuate. The District has worked with its financial consultant to structure the debt repayment to be as consistent as possible over the course of the 20 year repayment cycle. This has been done by reviewing the existing bonded debt and incorporating the new debt repayment with existing debt repayment.
  • Where can I find information about my tax impact?
  • Was there any community input on this, or did the School come up with this on its own?
    • It was very important for the District to have this be a plan that was community driven, and in an effort to make sure this happened, the District spent months involving the community in multiple committees through every step of the process. The referendum question came from options developed by the Facilities Task Force.  Information regarding the process of the Facilities Task Force and the meetings can be found on the District website.
  • Why didn’t the District break the bond into multiple questions?
    • The Board discussed this issue, and the main reason is that all of the needs were high priority.  Additionally, the Board believes the public will support these needs and to separate them might cause confusion in voting. The Board respects the input from all of the committees, and agrees that if they feel these are the highest priority needs at this time for the community, then the referendum should address these equally in a single question.
  • Why are there two questions – bond vs levy?
    • A building bond referendum asks voters to support funding specifically for the purpose of building projects. An operating levy asks voters to support funding to finance learning and operations such as hiring teachers, utility costs, etc. While both require voter support, the two funding sources are completely separate.
  • What will happen if the referendum fails?
    • This plan is the direct outcome of months of community effort and development. As such, there is no “plan B” ready to be implemented. If the referendum would fail, the District will need to go into planning again to determine the next course of action. What we can say is this:
      • The needs won’t go away. Physical conditions will continue to age, or in some cases deteriorate and the District will need to find some way to address those issues.
      • The time to address these issues is now – costs will only increase with time. If the District chose to go back to the community to ask for support on the same issue again the costs will almost certainly be higher.
  • What is the review process for this work – does the Department of Education get involved?
    • The School District has provided the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) with all of the required documentation for the proposed improvements and referendum in the form of a “Review & Comment”.  The MDE has already reviewed all submitted information to ensure that the project is both fiscally sound and educationally appropriate, which is required before a public vote can take place. The Commissioner’s approval will be published in the local paper prior to the referendum vote for confirmation by District residents.
  • How is a bond referendum different from an operating levy?
    • A bond referendum asks voters to support using bond money for the purpose of building projects.   An operating levy asks voters to support additional funds to pay utility costs, etc.  While both require voter support the two different funding sources can only be used for the required intent and are completely separate from one another.
    • This request has both. The levy is for operating the new additions to support services such as supervision, maintenance and utility costs.
  • Will the community, staff, students, and others have input in the planning and design process after the vote?
    • To date, only high-level planning has been done to set budget and scope. Approval by the voters on November 7 will authorize the detailed planning and design process to begin. Just as the planning to this point has been driven by community input, the design process will involve interested staff and community members to determine criteria, adjacencies and priorities to ensure that they are appropriate for our District. There will be hundreds of stakeholders involved in the process. 
  • Will local businesses and contractors benefit from these projects?
    • After the referendum is successful, the District will work with their Construction Manager and Architects/Engineers on designs to get documents ready for public bidding. These projects will be advertised and local contractors who are eligible to will be invited and encouraged to bid the projects.
  • Will there be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and hear information about the bond referendum?
    • Yes, there will be informational community meetings at the following times:
      • Public Meeting on Review and Comment: Monday, Spetember 18, 2017 at 5:30 pm at the District Office
      • Public Information Session #1: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 5:30 pm at Jefferson
      • Public Information Session #2: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm at Faribault High School
    • Additionally, if you have a group that would like to meet outside these meetings, please contact Superintendent Todd Sesker at 507-333-6010 to schedule an informational presentation.
  • Why build new instead of remodel?
    • For the Preschool/Kindergarten Center and ALC, the Task Force reviewed options to add onto and renovate the existing facilities to support programming needs as well as address other facility deficiencies against the option to build new. After further study, the Task Force did not find the option to renovate these facilities to be financially viable.
      • ALC: An analysis showed that the cost of the additions/renovations, including deferred maintenance, was 78% of the cost of new construction ($6.3 million vs. $8 million).
  • Preschool/Kindergarten Center: To perform all needed deferred maintenance and renovate the existing building to accomplish the programmatic needs as well as add the required capacity for kindergarten and early childhood projected growth was determined to be approximately 90% of the cost of building a new facility.
  • What are the benefits of a Preschool/Kindergarten Center?
    • The benefits of co-locating Preschool and Kindergarten include getting families introduced and welcomed to Faribault's schools early in a single facility and easing the transition between Preschool and Kindergarten to better serve the District's youngest learners. This also creates an atmosphere of collaboration between these grade levels and among teachers of the same grade level to better support students during this important and formative time. This also creates needed capacity space at the Elementary schools by moving Kindergarten to the Preschool/Kindergarten Center, freeing up classrooms that can be used by other programs. 
  • How does the recently passed Ag Land Tax Credit affect the tax impact from this referendum?
    • This year, the legislature passed the School Building Bond Agricultural Credit bill to provide a 40% reduction in tax impact for school building bonds for agricultural land. Homestead examples exclude the house, garage and one acre, which has the same tax impact as a residential homestead. More information about tax impact can be found on the District’s referendum website, including a tax impact calculator where you can find the exact impact by searching for your property.
  • What if Question One passes but Question Two does not, or vice versa?
    • Question One can pass without Question Two, but Question Two (the bond) is dependent on the passage of Question One (operating levy). Both questions must pass for the facilities improvements to proceed.
  • How old are the District’s buildings?
    • Jefferson Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Faribault High School, and McKinley Early Childhood Center were all built in the mid-1950’s. The Middle School was built in 1984. The facility the ALC is currently in (which was not designed to be a school) was built in 1970. Finally, Roosevelt is the newest school, having been built in 1997.
  • Where can I vote? Is early voting available?
    • Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm on November 7, 2017.
      • Combined polling places have been established at Faribault High School, Faribault Middle School, and Nerstrand Elementary.
    • You can also vote via an absentee ballot.
      • Absentee voting begins September 22, 2017 and ends November 6, 2017. This can be done in person at the Rice County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. Office Hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday. You can also vote absentee Saturday, November 4 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm or Monday, November 6 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • You can request an absentee ballot by:
      • Calling 507-332-6104 or 507-645-9576, requesting in-person at Rice County Government Services Building, or online at www.co.rice.mn.us
  • When was the last bond?
    • The last significant update of educational needs was the construction of Roosevelt Elementary almost 20 years ago.
    • The last referendum on facilities was in 2009, and it was primarily focused on a portion of the District’s deferred maintenance needs, including roofing, windows and mechanical work.
  • Why is the District pursuing a 20 year repayment on the bond?
    • The School Board looked to balance tax impact versus total amount of interest accrued. After studying the issue, the Board chose a shorter term to avoid additional interest costs while considering monthly impact to taxpayers.


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