1. When is the vote?
The election will be held on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 7am to 8pm, at one polling location: North Branch Area Education Center, 38705 Grand Avenue, North Branch.
2. How can I learn more?
There are a variety of ways to learn more about the referendum election:
Attend a community meeting: Monday, April 24, 5:30pm North Branch Education Center, 38705 Grand Avenue, North Branch.
3. Can I vote early or by absentee ballot?
To vote early using an absentee ballot, call the district office at (651) 674-1011, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the school district office. All absentee ballots must be received no later than May 23, 2017.
4. What is included in the referendum election?
The referendum election includes three ballot questions:
Question 1: Funds to maintain our schools with safety and security improvements, deferred maintenance and updates to classrooms and other district facilities.
Question 2: Funds to improve athletic spaces with a gym addition to the high school and updates to both the middle school and high school gyms. (NOTE: Q2 is contingent on Q1 – Q2 can only pass if voters approve Q1.)
Question 3: Funds to invest in classroom technology to support student learning in a rapidly changing world.
5. Why is the tax impact of Q1 so much less than the tax impact of Q2, when the bond cost of Q1 is higher than Q2?
The bonds to fund Q1 are replacing debt that is coming off the books over the next few years, with a resulting minimal increase for property taxpayers. Q2, which can only pass if Q1 is approved, would incur new debt on top of what already exists, so the tax impact is greater. In short, Q1 is essentially replacing district loans that are almost paid off, while Q2 is a new loan. Click here to view the district debt schedule.
6. Will these three school funding requests help stop the loss of teachers due to ongoing budget cuts?
If these ballot questions are approved, it will greatly reduce pressure on the operating budget and free up funds to retain staff. Currently, operating funds have to be used to cover needed deferred maintenance, safety and security projects and classroom technology – thus reducing what is available for staffing. If voters approve dedicated funding for these types of projects, the operating budget won’t be pulled in so many directions.
7. How will the money be used?
A detailed budget breakdown for Questions 1 and 2 is here.
Question 3 would provide $500,000 per year for ten years dedicated to classroom technology. Learn more about the technology proposal here.
8. What is included in "outdoor facility improvements?"
Referendum question 1 contains funds for outdoor improvements districtwide, including renovation of the competition fields at Sunrise, backstop and parking improvements at the middle school, and fencing replacement districtwide. Many improvements are also planned for the main competition area near the high school. The concession stand would be replaced, bathrooms and sanitary sewer added, visitor access and ticket area improved, artificial turf added to the stadium, improvements to stadium lighting and press box, restoration of the track surface, replacement of the tennis court surfaces, and additional storage space added.
Improvements to the visitor access area near the stadium allows the school district to continue its proud partnership with local veterans organizations toward the creation of a Veterans Memorial in North Branch, by completing base work. Veterans groups continue to fund-raise toward the construction of the memorial itself.
Replacing the stadium's natural field with artificial grass will save the school district money needed for fertilizer, irrigation, and maintenance. It will also allow for the stadium to be used far more frequently by both school district activities as well as community organizations. Due to wear, natural grass limits greatly limits the district and community's use of the facility. Artificial grass also allows for the stadium field to be utilized as another physical education space for teachers.
9. Where can I see design plans, construction schedules, and a more detailed list of projects?
Specifics around design plans and construction schedules are costly to create and not a prudent expenditure for the school district in the absence of a successful referendum. Were the referendum to fail, the funds needed to create these plans would be wasted. NBAPS has provided a detail of project type by building, that includes costs for each type of project.