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District 196 voters approve $493 million in capital improvements
District 196 voters approve $493 million in capital improvements

ROSEMOUNT, Minn. – Voters in District 196 on Tuesday approved both questions of a bond referendum special election to address current and future facilities and equipment needs in the state’s third largest school district. Both questions were approved in all 14 school district precincts.

The combined $493 million is the largest successful bond referendum in Minnesota history, topping the $326 million bond referendum in White Bear Lake Area Schools in 2019.  

Question 1 was approved by a margin of 7,576 Yes votes (69%) to 3,446 No votes (31%). Question 1 improvements cost $374 million and include safety and security improvements at all schools; a new elementary school; a new Rosemount Middle School and repurposing the current school; additions to Scott Highlands Middle School and Dakota Ridge School; finish renovation of Rosemount High School, with an addition; renovation of Transition Plus; science lab and performance space improvements at secondary schools, and furniture replacement where needed.

Question 2, which was contingent on passage of Question 1, was also approved by a margin of 7,233 Yes votes (66%) and 3,781 No votes (34%). Question 2 improvements cost $119 million and will provide an activity center addition at each of the district’s four comprehensive high schools: Apple Valley, Eagan, Eastview and Rosemount.

“We are pleased with the results and thankful for our community’s trust and continued investment in quality schools and building for our future,” Superintendent Mary M. Kreger said. “This referendum will provide safety and security improvements at all of our schools, additional space we need now and for future growth, and a more consistent experience for students and families across the district. Quality schools are at the core of our thriving communities.”  

Tuesday’s election is the culmination of a process that started nearly two years ago, in June 2021, when a group of district and school administrators began meeting to conduct a comprehensive review of the district’s facilities and equipment needs. The committee studied enrollment projections, building capacities and facilities needs in a range of areas to develop a phased facilities master plan with phase one recommendations to address needs in the areas of safety and security, space for growth, and providing a more consistent experience. The recommendations were presented for input at public meetings last November and online. As a result of that input, the School Board ultimately agreed with the committee’s revised recommendation to add a second question for activity center space at the high schools, making its passage contingent on passage of the first question.

The 11,022 voters who cast ballots on the May 9 bond referendum represent just over 10% of the 105,521 registered voters in District 196 at the beginning of election day.