Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two- part series covering the bond vote for Owatonna Public Schools.
As November slowly approaches, so too does the voting season. This year’s spotlight is set on the upcoming bond for the public schools. This bond is focused on the expansion of Owatonna’s educational facilities. Throughout the past year, the Owatonna School District has been evaluating its facilities, in order to evaluate how they can meet various needs. The main problems are: crowded elementary schools, school security issues, aging school buildings and deferred maintenance needs.
A year of analysis from a 36-member Community Task Force, community members and from the collection of a professional community survey, has unanimously decided to ask Owatonna voters for their input and their money. This vote asks whether or not the Owatonna School District should fund facility improvement projects through a $77.9 million bond.
This $77.9 million bond would address the higher priority deferred maintenance needs at all of the elementary and junior high schools. An additional feature of the bond are upgrades to school safety and security systems at all schools. Also, this bond calls for the building of additions onto four schools. This would convert the Willow Creek Intermediate to an elementary school from grades K-5. The Junior High School would then absorb the sixth graders from Willow Creek Intermediate. One misconception about this bond is that the Owatonna Senior High School is included on the ballot. The Owatonna Senior High School is not included on the ballot, however, Lincoln and McKinley will be also affected if the bond is passed.