Brainerd Schools Ready To Move Forward With Blueprint 181
Brainerd School officials are celebrating today after all three questions on the school’s referendum ballot were approved. 9802 voters were out at the polls yesterday for a 37.45 voter turnout.
Even though election day has come and gone, the school district is ready to get going on three parts of their facilities plan.
“I’m just absolutely ecstatic and I am so excited for the future of our kids, our school district and our entire community,” said Brainerd Schools Superintendent Laine Larson.
As the votes slowly rolled in late last night, question one, dealing with the elementary schools, was holding steady and ended with 60 percent of voter approval. Question two, dealing with secondary education was a closer run, but ended with 55 percent in the “yes” column.
“This has been a community partnership focused on education,” Larson said.
Question three, which concerned enhancing the performance arts center at the high school, passed by a narrow margin with only 51 percent of voters approving the question.
“We have an outline as to which ones we begin right away, what the priorities are on day one (today) that we are going to begin working on,” Larson said.
First on the list is starting with question one and the construction of the new elementary school in Baxter.
“Do a traffic study at Forestview, look at some of the land and how that would work and also have conversations with the City of Baxter to see if we can come to an agreement with that land right to the east of Forestview Middle School,” Larson said.
Also on the top of the list is beginning other conversations about projects dealing with question two. In order to improve safety and security at the high school level, one major change will come with repurposing the Brainerd South Campus and moving all high school students under one roof.
“By bringing all of our kids, [grades] 9-12 into that same campus, the north campus at Brainerd High School is going to be wonderful because we are going to be able to lock all of the doors and have that controlled entrance,” Larson said.
This is as the school district moves from the draft to the design stages of the project.
“The future is bright,” Larson said.
And that future will come with massive improvements, necessary upgrades and new projects over the next four years.
“We want to make sure that when this is done, everybody really feels that they are getting the highest quality educational opportunities, taking into consideration our taxpayers’ generous investment,” Larson said.
The total voter investment is $148.8 million, which is roughly a $7 tax increase per month for the average home value in Brainerd.