Potential referendum progresses

School board discusses updates


Sophomore Shellcie SalasRea and Junior Ashley Durand eat lunch in new cafeteria booths Feb. 27. As part of a referendum the School Board hopes to update furniture and expand the lunch room.

Superintendent Rob Metz said the School Board discussed three different referendums over the course of a year to propose on Election Day regarding district facilities renovations.

“The smallest is about $40 million, then (the School Board) looking sort of in the $70 million range and then they’re also looking at $125 million,” Metz said. “They haven’t decided, and I don’t know where they’re going to settle.”

Metz said the list of updates includes potential spacial additions to multiple district schools.

Sophomore Katie Hardie said she hopes money will improve school lunches.

“There are different packages, and I think I liked the one involving the central kitchen,” Hardie said. “I like that we’re putting money toward making a program that we make all of the food in the morning in one central kitchen and then we distribute it so all of the food’s better,” Hardie said.

According to Metz, the School Board discussed expanding the lunchroom and creating a new menu.

“The idea would be to build one brand new kitchen, probably at the high school, prepare all the food here, and then bring it in trucks to the other schools,” Metz said. “The lunchroom would go all the way to the auditorium.”

School Board member Jim Yarosh said many of the referendum preparations include educating the public on the various options.

“We are in process trying to figure out what should we do and at what price level,” Yarosh said. “There have been several different ‘World Cafes,’ I think we called them, to give feedback (and) explain options.”

Metz said a public survey will occur in early March.

“We have a survey company that we hired who are going to phone, let’s say, 1,000 people in St. Louis Park and say which of these things are important to you,” Metz said.

Yarosh said community discussions will occur throughout the spring.

“We’ll probably have some public forums, a little later, maybe in April. We’re going to have some opportunity to give comment or feedback,” Yarosh said. “There’s the traditional ideas of emailing the Board or giving feedback to the superintendent.”

Metz said a decision on the referendum will be made around late March.

“If something passed we probably wouldn’t actually start any improvements until the following summer. You have to get all kinds of permits and apply to the Department of Education and all kinds of stuff,” Metz said.