School referendum is Tuesday

By Chuck Kajer

Voters in the New Prague Area Schools will decide Tuesday, Dec. 14, whether the district will build as many as three new elementary schools, renovate the current intermediate school into a facility for non-traditional programming and administrative services, build an addition to the high school and build a swimming pool at the high school.

Polling places

Voting will be done at four sites around the district. Polling places will be at New Prague Intermediate School, St. Patrick Social Hall, New Market Area Hall and Lonsdale City Hall. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on December 14. All voters must be residents of the New Prague Area School District.

Residents in the City of New Prague, Lanesburgh Township, Derrynane Township and Belle Plaine Township will cast their ballots at the New Prague Intermediate School.

Voters in Helena and Cedar Lake townships will vote at St. Patrick.

Voters in New Market Township and the City of New Market will vote in New Market.

Voters who reside in the city of Lonsdale and Webster, Wheatland, Erin or Forest townships will vote in Lonsdale.

Voters must be 18 years old as of December 14, and be registered to vote. Voters who are not registered can register at the polling place on election day.

Voters can also vote by absentee ballot if they are going to be away from their home precinct on the day of the referendum. To apply for an absentee ballot, voters can contact the school district office at 952-758-1700 or get an application on the school district's web site at

The decision

It all comes down to three questions that, put together, total $62.1 million dollars for the district's taxpayers. If all questions pass, district officials estimate the owner of a home valued at $200,000 in the district would pay an additional $30.38 a month, or $364.56 a year, in property taxes for 2005. They also point out that as the district continues to grow, the growing tax base would mean that number would decline each year.

Voters in the district rejected a $46 million referendum in May that would have built three elementary schools. As a result, a survey was taken and then a task force was formed to go over enrollment figures, survey results and other factors to decide how to proceed. The task force met weekly over a two-month period. The result was a three-part referendum that took last spring's request for three schools and split that into two questions. The task force also addressed the growing enrollment in the upper grades by adding an addition to the high school to the second question. After several members of the task force asked about adding a swimming pool to the high school addition, the task force decided to add a third question to the ballot.

Voters will be asked to vote on all three questions. However, each question is contingent on the previous question passing. If voters do not approve question 1, question 2 will not be considered, and if voters approve question 1 and do not approve question 2, question 3 will not be considered.

Question 1

Voters will first decide whether to build two new elementary schools, one in New Market and one in New Prague, and to renovate the current Intermediate School building. The two new buildings would be open in the fall of 2006. Cost of question 1 is $35 million.

All four of the district's buildings are at or beyond capacity. Question 1 would build two new schools, one of which would replace the intermediate school. The New Market building would be located on land just to the west of that city, and the New Prague building would be on land near the Wally Miller Business Park, on the west side of town. The two 750-student schools and the current Primary School would house students in grades K-6, alleviating not only the crowded conditions at the district's two elementary schools, but at the middle school as well, since that building would no longer house sixth graders. However, this solution does not address the high school and would only solve the crowded conditions in the elementary schools for about a year, since the rapid growth of the district would mean all three elementary buildings would be nearing capacity on the day they open.

The $35 million bond would raise taxes on a $200,000 home by $20.78 a month, or $249.36 a year.

Question 2

If approved, question 2 would build a third elementary school in Lonsdale, which would open in the fall of 2006, and a 500-student addition to the high school building, which would open in the fall of 2007. The high school's current capacity is 1,050 students. Cost of Question 2 is $24.6 million.

The Lonsdale building would be built on land just to the north of the city limits. If question 2 passes, the district would have four buildings for grades K-6, and the district estimates that would serve the district's elementary school population until about 2010, when the district would have to consider building another elementary school and possibly a second middle school.

If question 2 passes, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $8.68 a month, or $104.16 a year in real estate taxes above the figures for question 1.

Question 3

The third question being put to voters would ask for $2.5 million to build a swimming pool in the high school building. It was decided to give voters the opportunity to add a swimming pool to the work already proposed at the high school. The district is one of the largest in the state that does not have a swimming pool. New Prague High School does offer girls swimming as an extracurricular activity, but those athletes currently practice and compete as part of a shared program with Montgomery-Lonsdale, using that district's pool.

The tax impact of a swimming pool would be 92 cents a month, or $11.04 a year for building a pool. That does not include operational costs for the pool.

More information

The school district has information about the referendum on their web site, at Voters who have questions can also call the district office at 952-758-1700.

When and where to vote

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14. Voters must be at least 18 years old, registered to vote and be residents of the school district. Voter registration can be done at the polling place on the day of the election.

Polling Places

New Prague Intermediate School

For voters in the City of New Prague and

Lanesburgh, Derrynane and Belle Plaine townships

St. Patrick Social Hall

For voters in Cedar Lake and Helena townships

New Market Area Hall

For voters in the City of New Market

and New Market Township.

Lonsdale City Hall

For voters in the City of Lonsdale and

Webster, Wheatland, Forest and Erin townships

Absentee Ballots

Applications for absentee ballots are available through Monday at the New Prague Area Schools District office, 301 Lexington Ave. S., New Prague, MN, 56071, by calling the District office at 952-758-1700 or on the District’s web site at All absentee ballots must be received by December 14.

Suel Printing Company

Copyright © Suel Printing Company
All Rights Reserved
200 Main St E
New Prague, MN 56071

Phone: 952-758-4435
Fax: 952-758-4135

Latest articles

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 2:44pm
Fri, 06/22/2018 - 2:15pm
Fri, 06/22/2018 - 1:59pm

Please Login for Premium Content