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Goodhue Public Schools passes building referendum

In May, the Goodhue Public School District failed to pass their building referendum, 500-449.

Six months later, the district was able to pass a two-question, $29 million revised referendum to help improve the current school, 823-652 for question one and 737-717 for question two.

Shortly after the totals were counted on Nov. 6, Superintendent Mike Redmond answered questions from the Republican Eagle, saying the revision and more communication with the public helped get this vote through.

"Our situation is incredibly complex. I think the additional time helped the [facilities planning] committee to further explain the needs and gave the community time to ask more questions," Redmond said.

Redmond also said the community responded well, listening closely and asking tough, but important questions.

From the previous referendum, the Facilities Planning Committee, comprised of School Board members, community members and faculty, presented a plan to Goodhue School Board that would cut $3.9 million from the failed May referendum. Just a few months after the failed vote, the board unanimously passed the questions.

Thanks to the Ag2School Tax Credit secured by the district, 37.44 percent of the cost will go to owners of agricultural land, with the state of Minnesota taking on 24.96 percent. The state of Minnesota also granted the district a state aid of 4.6 percent.

The total cost to local taxpayers after both questions passed will be $20.1 million, with the state paying for $8.5 million.

The current school building was built in 1935, with many of the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems going back to that time currently still in place. The district will look to upgrade those and also update their science and FACS labs and create more classroom space, just to name a few things.

The district has been serving 680 students per day with only a capacity of 638 student in the school building allowed.

Redmond called the work done by the facilities planning committee "transparent," saying the group tried their best to speak with as many voters, regardless of their previous vote.

It's a "bittersweet" moment for Redmond as he begins to transition to joining the Shakopee School District as their new superintendent.

Redmond will be splitting his time between Goodhue and Shakopee through December, with the full transition to Shakopee starting on the first of the next year.

Redmond said "there are few places that I would've considered leaving for" on his new position on Shakopee, but has felt "blessed" to be a part of the Goodhue community over the last six years.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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