District prepares for extensive updates

$100.9 million referendum includes new food plan, high school common area


Grace Farley

Superintendent Astein Osei speaks in front of school board members Sept. 25. Osei spoke about the $100.9 million referendum and other topics relating to the Park school district.

After 18 out of 19 precincts reported in on election night Nov. 7, District Superintendent Astein Osei said he felt a feeling of immense gratitude toward Park community members.

According to the school district, the operating levy was approved for renewal 85-15 percent and the referendum was passed 81-19 percent. The operating levy will allow the district to continue funding the district and achieving goals set by the strategic plan.

The $100.9 million referendum includes several facility updates constructed over the course of three years. Updates include additional classrooms, a centralized district kitchen, and a new
weight room at the high school.

Osei said the vast support for the schools and students in the Park school district is unique.

“All I could keep saying is, ‘where does it happen? In what part of this state, what part of the country does it happen that a community, at such large percent, support the schools,” Osei said. “Well, it happens here in St. Louis Park,’ this is where it happens.”

Junior Griffin Barden said he believes the new food options are an important update to the high school.

“I think it’s good because our school is kind of outdated and the food kind of sucks. We just really need some new updates to the school,” Barden said.

According to Osei, the goal of the referendum is to accommodate the needs of students through next-century learning designs.

“What we’re really trying to do with the facility enhancement, or improvement, is create spaces that meet the needs of the way that students learn today,” Osei said.

Junior Ellie Meys said she believes the referendum wastes taxpayer’s money by spending it in unnecessary places.

“I like certain parts of it, but I feel like (the district is) just wasting their time and money on certain things that don’t need to be done,” Meys said. “I wish that they would take other things into account.”

According to Osei, while upperclassmen are saddened they won’t be able to fully experience the changes, younger district students anticipate the facility updates.

“As I talk to younger students, elementary school age kids, and middle school students, they’re pumped, they’re excited,” Osei said. “I can see the excitement in their face and it helps them know and believe that the community loves them and supports them.”