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Survey Says Residents Support a Referendum

March 05, 2019 10:37 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- On Tuesday night, Rochester’s school board released the results of a survey the district sent to residents in early February that asked how much they’d be willing to spend to take on the issues of overcrowding.

Only 14 percent – just over 8,000 people – sent their surveys back to the district.

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“The biggest thing and a major part of the base question is just addressing our capacity. We’re just running out of rooms, space for students,” said Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz.

The base plan as described in the survey included building a new middle and elementary school, reconstructing two existing elementary schools, and improving school safety for a price of $163 million.

“We are going to continue to grow and we’re running out of capacity at many of our sites – especially at our elementary and middle school level,” Muñoz said.

The survey’s results suggested taxpayers might be willing to pay a little bit more, which could give the district money to acquire land for future schools and auditorium upgrades at the three high schools.

“There’s strong support to go out for a bond referendum so many people responded to the survey and learned that there are needs in the district, and gave the district a nod that it does make sense to move forward with a bond referendum,” said Sue Peterson, project manager with School Perceptions, the company that helped the district with the survey.

Taxpayers could provide $171.4 million dollars.

“There seems to be really good support for up around the $171-172 million range in the base project and also some additional projects like the auditorium and safety,” Muñoz said.

There’s also been talk of potentially adding a second question to the referendum, asking if taxpayers would support building a pool at Century High School and upgrading the pool at Mayo High School for $9.5 million.

The school board could vote on moving forward with the referendum at its next meeting on March 19.

KAAL-TV

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