Last Updated January 15, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs from November 3 Referendum
New FAQs posted January 15, 2021
Did the state give the new project an unfavorable review?
Yes, they are unfairly requiring a 60% yes vote by giving the project an unfavorable review. One of their main objections is that we don’t meet a building guideline of “an average of around 200 square feet per student.” If we did meet this guideline, we would have to reduce the building size by 16 classrooms, one gym station and an auditorium, resulting in larger class sizes, a reduction in staff, and fewer academic opportunities for students. Read our full point-by-point response.
Why is there only one polling place for this election?
School districts running a special election (an election not held during regularly scheduled elections) typically combine polling places to save money. The district is entirely responsible for the operation of the election (with training from county elections officials). Early and election day voting is done at district expense, requiring staffing costs and a place to vote. It would be very challenging financially to operate multiple polling locations and challenging to recruit enough election judges, especially in a pandemic. Early voting takes place at the school. Election day voting will use a combined polling place of Lamberton Community Center. Mail-in absentee voting is open to all voters.
New FAQ posted January 6, 2021
I'm confused, what will Question 2 provide?
Question 2 would provide an additional dedicated gym space and a dedicated wrestling room that is not included in Question 1. Our current facility has a wrestling room space, but if question 2 is not approved, that space would not be included in the new facility, causing the wrestling program to share gym space with other sports and activities. It would also take away dedicated storage for wrestling mats and equipment. We currently have two gymnasiums, and are limited in how many classes can use the gyms with activities having to schedule practice time from early in the morning to late in the evening, which is why a third gym space has been added as an option in Question 2. The third dedicated gymnasium would allow us more flexibility to accommodate additional gym classes and activities, as well as additional community use. If Question 2 is not approved, we would no longer have a dedicated wrestling room in our school and space in our two gyms would be even more congested.
New FAQs posted December 23, 2020
Why is Red Rock running another referendum?
We won, but we also lost in November. The operating levy reduction was approved by voters and 52% of voters supported the new building question. Unfortunately, a technicality required a 60% rate of support for the bond levy that would pay for a new school. The needs haven’t changed - our old school is still old and does not meet the needs of our students. The school board unanimously passed a resolution to hold a new, three question referendum on Feb. 9, 2021.
What happens if each of the referendum questions is approved?
A new pre-K through grade 12 school, with a dedicated wrestling room and three dedicated gymnasiums would be built on land near the existing building in Lamberton. The wrestling room would provide the school and youth wrestling programs with dedicated wrestling practice space (as they currently enjoy in the existing building), avoiding use of a gym space and storage space for mats. The third dedicated gymnasium would allow us more flexibility to accommodate additional gym classes and activities, as well as additional community use. The current school, if it isn’t sold to an organization that plans to use it, would be decommissioned and demolished. The school board’s first priority would be to sell the building to a buyer that would repurpose the building for another use.
What happens if the referendum is not approved?
If Question 1, for a new, smaller school, is not approved, we will have to continue to work with the community to find a way to approve a new school - running new elections every year. The current facility is too far past its prime to renovate. The cost to maintain or to renovate is too high, and students would be left with a building that doesn’t meet their needs, and would last a fraction of the time a new school would last.
If Question 2 is not approved, we would lose a dedicated wrestling room, which we currently have in the existing school. Wrestling mats would have to be unrolled and rerolled every day practice is held for the school team as well as youth teams, and space in our two gyms would be even more congested. Our current facility has two gymnasiums, but we are limited in how many classes can use the gyms, and activities have to schedule practice time from early in the morning to late in the evening.
If Question 3 is not approved, and a buyer that intends to use the building can’t be found, the district would have to use a combination of funding sources, including fund balance intended for student learning, to decommission and demolish the building.
How is this proposal different than what was on the November 2020 ballot?
By statute, for an election run within 180 days of a previous election, the school district is required to change the project by 5%. We received feedback from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) that our square footage per student was too high. We decreased the square footage of the new school in Question 1 by a little over 6,000 square feet by removing the third dedicated gym space, a computer lab and a flexible learning space from the November plan. Question 2 allows voters to choose to add a third dedicated gym and a wrestling room. Community feedback was mixed on whether to demolish the existing school, so we are allowing taxpayers to choose whether demolition should be funded by this bond referendum.
What changes were made to the plans to meet MDE standards?
The original space program was re-reviewed, and a computer lab and studio space were removed from the plan. Red Rock Central currently operates and has operated as a two-section school, the community has supported in the past and recently voted for an operating levy that supports a two-section arrangement. For this reason, the Board did not see reducing the number of general classrooms as an option. A dedicated third gym station was removed from Question #1 and moved to Question #2. The existing building has a dedicated wrestling room, for this reason a wrestling room was added to Question #2.
Why do we need a wrestling room and additional gym?
The current school has a wrestling room, but in order to address feedback from MDE about excess per student square footage, it has not been included in Question 1. Our current facility has two gymnasiums, but we are limited in how many classes can use the gyms, and activities have to schedule practice time early in the morning and late into the evening. The wrestling room would provide the school and youth wrestling with dedicated wrestling practice space, avoiding use of a gym space and storage space for mats. The third dedicated gymnasium would allow us more flexibility to accommodate additional gym classes and activities, as well as additional community use.
Why are you calling out decommissioning/demolition?
We heard during community meetings that many people wanted input on deciding whether to decommission or demolish the Lamberton Building. The district didn’t demolish the Storden, Jeffers or Sanborn buildings when they were closed. Approval of this question does not mean the building will be demolished, just that bond funds would be available if it has to be demolished. The school board’s first priority would be to sell the building to a buyer that would repurpose the building for another use. If no buyer can be found, the best economic solution for the district is to demolish the building to avoid maintenance costs on an unused building. If Question 3 passes and the building is sold, the district can choose not to levy for this expense, and taxpayers property taxes will not increase in the amount needed to pay for demolition. The school board wants what is best for the community when determining the future of the existing building.
What does decommission mean?
Decommissioning a building means “moth ball” or putting the building into hibernation. This includes maintaining minimum heat to ensure water pipes don’t freeze, and shutting down all unnecessary lighting and systems. Maintenance costs would still be incurred. If the building is demolished, the district would use bond funds for actual demolition and Long-Term Facility Maintenance funds for abatement of asbestos tile or other hazardous materials.