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MACCRAY to survey residents

CLARA CITY -- MACCRAY School Board members are looking to find out why voters rejected a third bond issue to address school facility needs, and what district residents might support in the future.

Tribune file photoSuperintendent Sherri Broderius spoke about the MACCRAY district's facilities needs during a June meeting.
Tribune file photo Superintendent Sherri Broderius spoke about the MACCRAY district's facilities needs during a June meeting.

CLARA CITY - MACCRAY School Board members are looking to find out why voters rejected a third bond issue to address school facility needs, and what district residents might support in the future.

At a meeting on Monday, board members approved hiring The Morris Leatherman Company of Minneapolis to survey district residents, according to Superintendent Sherri Broderius.

Board members are asking the company to help answer a number of questions for the district, chief among being what led the $56 million bond referendum to defeat. The survey will also look at what issues residents feel the district faces, their perception of the school system, what level of taxation they would support for improvements, as well as the communication and demographic characteristics of the district.

Board members appreciate the company's ability to provide a neutral look at issues the district faces, said the superintendent.

The company will collect survey results from a minimum of 400 residents. The results should be available to board members in February, according to the superintendent. The survey will cost $15,000.

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Morris Leatherman undertook a similar survey for the Willmar School District in late 2014. The results helped provide school board members with a roadmap that led to the successful bond issue and construction of a new elementary school.

MACCRAY district voters rejected a bond referendum in November that called for constructing a middle school on the high school campus in Clara City and renovating the East and West Elementary Schools in Raymond and Maynard as pre-K - grade 4 facilities.

Voters rejected three questions as part of the bond proposal, including the main, $48.1 million issue by a 909 "yes" to 1,167 "no" count. Only voters in Clara City and Louriston Township supported the measure, while the communities of Maynard and Raymond and all of the other townships rejected it.

Voters had also rejected a $20 million bond issue in 2014 and a $38.8 million issue in 2017, but both of those measures called for a central campus system. The latest bond referendum called for maintaining the three campus system and, unlike the prior issues, had the unanimous support of school board members.

The superintendent said people continue to ask "what next" now that the issue has failed. She said her answer is not what the facility plan is. "The 'what next' is how are we going to find out from the people what they could support and how are we going to create a strategic plan with the board on everything MACCRAY. Not just facilities, but education. And how do we weave all of this together, and then (determine) what our plan is going to be,'' the superintendent said.

Related Topics: CLARA CITYMAYNARDEDUCATION
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