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Voters strike down facilities projects in Crookston Public Schools

Crookston Superintendent Chris Bates

CROOKSTON, Minn.—It appears Crookston Public Schools will not move forward with a series of facilities projects for the district.

Voters struck down three projects on Tuesday requiring bond issuances that would have raised property taxes equivalent to a $96 increase per year, or $1.84 per week, for the next 20 years on a $200,000 home in Crookston. The proposed projects include a new bus garage for a maximum cost of $3.425 million, a gymnasium and multi-purpose room at Crookston High School for a maximum of $4.875 million and an athletic complex at the high school for a maximum cost of $3.105 million. Each project was voted on separately, and all three would have had a maximum total cost of $11.4 million.

Results tallied Tuesday night showed 553 votes out of 2,012 total in favor of the bus garage, 289 out of 2,007 in favor of the gymnasium and 255 out of 2,006 in favor of the athletic complex.

Each project needed a simple majority of the votes to pass.

"Not what we were hoping for, and that's the challenge that schools face," said Superintendent Chris Bates. "We have to have this approved by voters, so we have to show them that these are needed things. And obviously we didn't do that."

The polling location, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m. Bates said about 150 ballots were sent in by mail, and had to be received by today to be counted.

He said construction would have begun by this summer or fall. The district's administration and School Board have not yet determined whether there may be alternative ways to move forward with any of the projects.

"With such a resounding defeat, I'm not exactly sure how much we would have to shave off any of the projects for it to interest people," Bates said.