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KMS has school bond vote, Benson seeking operating levy in Tuesday elections

Voters in the Benson and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg school districts will go the polls on Tuesday to vote on school referendums.

The voters in Benson will decide whether to provide more funding for school operations, and voters in the KMS district will decide whether to pay for school improvements.

KMS will have two questions on its ballot. The first question will ask voters if they want to approve issuing $9.5 million in bonds to pay for improvements at the district’s two school buildings, a high school in Kerkhoven and an elementary school in Murdock. The second question asks if they will approve another $1.26 million in bonds to build a new gym on the high school.

According to information on the school district’s website, the Question 1 proposal would pay for multiple improvements.

At the high school, proposals include additions for early childhood classrooms, career and technical programs, and a multipurpose space.

Remodeling would include a new secure building entrance, technical education areas, expansion of the auxiliary gym and the high school office. Also included in the project would be parking and roof projects.

At the elementary school, classroom, media center and office additions are planned, along with remodeling of classrooms and improved circulation. Parking, paving and window replacements are also proposed, along with improvements to the ventilation system.

Question 2 would pay for a multi-purpose gymnasium addition to the high school.

Benson Schools is asking voters to repeal an existing operating levy and replace it with a larger one for four years. The larger levy would provide an additional $432,000 a year for the next four years.

According to information from the school district’s website, the current levy of $720 per pupil unit will not cover the revenue lost because of the district’s declining enrollment. Enrollment fell 38 percent last year. A new levy of $1,200 per pupil unit is expected to help the district maintain its services and weather the projected loss of 90 students in the next five years.

Information from the district indicates that the district currently has a smaller operating levy than many other districts in the area and smaller levy than the state average. The school share of property taxes is also lower in Benson than in area school districts and lower than the statewide average.

Most of the districts in the state have some sort of voter-approved operating levy to help them cover basic expenses.

Polling places

KMS polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Precinct One will vote at the Sunburg Community Center. It includes the city of Sunburg and the Kerkhoven, Norway Lake and Arctander townships.

Precinct Two will vote at the Murdock City Hall. It includes the city of Murdock and Camp Lake, Kildare, Dublin, Cashel, Grace and Louriston townships.

Precinct Three will vote at the Kerkhoven Civic Center. It includes the city of Kerkhoven and Hayes, Pillsbury, Woods, Mamre and St. John’s townships.

For more information, call the superintendent’s office at 320-264-1412.

Benson will have one polling place for the entire school district. All voters in the district will cast their ballots from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Benson Armory.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340