Annandale school district seeks voter support
Special Election August 8
|Logo for 2023 bond referendum campaign for the Annandale Public Schools.
Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, July 22, 2023
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
ANNANDALE — The Annandale school district seeks voter support for a bond referendum in a special election coming Tuesday, August 8.
The bond request would raise $98.7 million, the school district says, “to build a new high school for grades 9-12, renovate the existing high school and convert it to a middle school for grades 5-8, and re-purpose the site of the existing middle school for potential sale or development.”
According to the school district, the tax impact would be $45 per month for a residential home valued at $300,000.
Education Minnesota supports the bond referendum.
The Annandale Public Schools, ISD #876, enrolls more than 2,000 students and currently has one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. The district includes the communities of Annandale, South Haven and Silver Creek.
The physical condition of the current middle school building is dire. The roof leaks. Ceilings have collapsed. The boiler is ancient. Heat failed in the sixth-grade wing. Repairs to the 70-year old building are expensive and are not cost-effective.
“The middle school is an absolutely terrible investment” when considering repairs to the current building, said Josh Dickinson, a special ed and tech ed teacher at the high school who has worked nine years for the district. He said investing more money in the aging middle school building is “fundamentally not responsible.”
“The facility we have is not an optimal learning space,” added middle school band teacher Karinda Duffy, who has worked 10 years in the district and who serves with Dickinson as co-president of the Annandale Education Association, the local teachers union.
At the middle school, she said, “a lot of our program and curriculum is currently limited by lack of space” and “a big part of the middle school is not air conditioned.”
At the elementary school — which currently runs through grade five — mechanical rooms and storage closets are being used for student learning. If the bond referendum passes, grade five would move to the relocated middle school, easing space pressure in the elementary school.
At the high school, where tech ed classes have been reintroduced, Dickinson said there simply isn’t the space to accommodate growing student interest in classes like woodshop and welding. “You can’t add a teacher if you don’t have a space to teach.”
District enrollment has grown by 20 percent in the past ten years, the district reports, but classroom space has not grown. Classrooms were designed for 25-26 desks, Dickinson noted, but “now you’re squishing 31 desks in there.”
Election day voting will be available Tuesday, August 8 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Annandale City Hall, 30 Cedar Street East.
In-person early voting is underway through Monday, August 7 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the school district office, 125 Cherry Ave. N. (Extended hours will be available August 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.).
Voters may also vote by absentee ballot through August 7.
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