Sauk Rapids Referendum Fails

Sauk Rapids Referendum Fails Click to Enlarge Photo: Steven Coursolle (KNSI)

(KNSI) - Sauk Rapids-Rice residents took to the polls Tuesday, with the majority voting no on the proposed $93,185,000 facilities referendum.

There were 3,534 no votes and 2,255 yes votes.

61.04 percent of the 5,789 votes cast were not in favor of the referendum and 38.96 percent supported it.

Interim Superintendent Bruce Watkins isn't thrilled with the outcome but says that's how the voters felt.

"There's a disappointment that its not going forward, but on the other hand we also know it's just a true form of grassroots government and the public has spoken, and we know that we have to live with those results."

The district asked voters to approve the referendum that would have built a new Pleasantview Elementary School at its current site and also would have constructed a new elementary school on district owned property.

It would have also added early childhood classrooms at Hillside and Rice Elementary Schools, along with athletic and activity spaces at the high school.

Open enrollment was a major topic leading up to the vote.

The school board recently decided to implement restrictions on open enrollment into the district.

Watkins says the board listened to the community on its stance on limiting open enrollment.

"Within the month they had made the decision to cap and reduce open enrollment and are in the process to define the policies and procedures."

The policy would decrease the number of students who enrolled to the district from around 1,100 to 600 over several years.

Watkins says it's too early to tell if they will go out for a third referendum and that it's a board decision.

The first referendum was for $87 million and failed by just 332 votes last May.

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