Moose Lake School Dist. Asking for $20 M in State Funding for School Relocation

By KBJR News 1

Moose Lake School Dist. Asking for $20 M in State Funding for School Relocation

February 7, 2013 Updated Feb 7, 2013 at 6:52 PM CDT

Moose Lake, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Moose Lake School District Superintendent Bob Indihar knows that he and the Rushford–Peterson School District are asking for no small sum of state funding.

"[We're] basically asking for $20 million per school," said Indihar in his office Thursday afternoon. Indihar says he also recognizes that it takes an exceptional case to set one funding project as a priority among hundreds.

But both schools, according to Indihar, are an exception, because both schools have flooded.

"We actually were looking at going out for a bond for a new building before the flood happened, and the flood kind of exacerbated that situation," said Indihar, recalling the day of the flood.

The Moose Horn River, which is just a few hundred yards away from the school's back door--also the source of the floodwater--is why Indihar says now is the time to build on higher ground.

The district owns just such a property along Highway 73, away from the source of June's flood, and the relocation would be in an effort to avoid another $800,000 fix–up.

"We are looking at building a building there—a pre–K–12 up on that property," said Indihar.

But the current district system of property taxes funding construction and using state funding for education would cripple residents already affected by floodwater, which is why a funding bill has been offered by a handful of legislators.

The question now? Will there even be a bonding bill this session?

"I would be in favor of a bonding bill," said DFL Dist. 11A Rep. Mike Sundin, of Esko, "if the interest rates are correct, and we can get local projects involved in that." Sundin was one of the legislators who introduced the bill.

While both districts wait, however, Indihar says his main concern is safety, which he bases off Rushford–Peterson's 5 years of flood aftermath.

"They have walls that are buckling, and floors that are heaving," said Indihar, "is that going to happen in Moose Lake?"

Moose Lake residents will also be voting on whether to approve the $33 million bond to build the new school on higher ground... a vote some are concerned won't pass without additional state funding.

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness