$38 Million to be distributed among Iron Range schools

By KBJR News 1

October 30, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 9:53 PM CDT

Virginia, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- Millions of dollars are being distributed to school districts across the
Iron Range to fund much needed improvements.

Legislators across the Iron Range are turning their focus to a topic
that some say has been neglected.

"Our priority this session has been education which I think has been
neglected for the past several years in Minnesota, so we thought it was a really good time to make some improvements to our schools," said Rep. Carly Melin of Hibbing.

$38 million will be shared by 15 school districts on the Iron
Range to pay for improvements to facilities.

"What we did was increase the taconite production tax slightly and
dedicated that new revenue to issuing school bonds to schools through out the taconite relief area," said Rep. Melin.

Superintendent of the Virginia School district says they have already
started the process of putting their portion of the funds to use.

"We met with proposers who are interested in doing some architectural work for the district to address our facilities," said Superintendent Deron Stender.

The Virginia School District received $7.7 million in bonds to make improvements to its facility.
School officials say one problem they are addressing is space constraints.

"There's not a lot of open spaces, and we want to create a new
generation of learning, and it's collaboration, its open spaces where
they can meet and gather and right now we don't have a lot of that that
exists and we are hoping through this process of restructuring some of our space we can create some of that, said Stender.

A small portion of the production tax paid by Iron Range mining
companies will repay the bonds over 20 years.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.