Bond 2016 Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the district asking for additional funding?

  • Our facilities are at or above capacity.  We need more space due to continued increases in enrollment projected over the next ten years.
  • Safety, security and well-being is of the utmost importance in supporting our students and community.
  • Providing more space for all learners will better support flexible learning spaces for the next generation of learners.

Why is the district proposing to build a new high school?

This was deemed the best value and long range plan for our district and community.  We have maximized use of the current high school facility under current high school programming. There is a need for more space for four grades (9-12), with only three grades (6-8) being planned to move into the facility.  This proposal also allows for additional fields, performance areas, STEM programming, college and career readiness courses and other focused programming for students during high school.

To add on to the current high school added additional congestion to the 7th Street campus which has a high volume of traffic.  By adding additions, we would also need to consider:

  • Losing fields, green space, trees and wetlands
  • Adding additional traffic, pedestrian and congestion concerns onto 7th street
  • The core pieces of the building (cafeteria, stairwells, hallways, locker rooms, etc.) have limitations without a major overhaul to meet the needs of growing enrollment
  • There is limited space if more growth happens beyond 2025

The CSP Committee proposed being mindful of expansion of the new facility in the planning process for anticipated future growth.

Current SHS facility has 1,100 students; in five years, without any growth, there is the potential of 1,300 students.

Where will it be located?

The Sartell-St. Stephen School District owns 80 acres adjacent to Oak Ridge Elementary.  We will be utilizing this land and securing an additional 20 acres to best support our facilities needs and maximize the dollars available to support student learning.

What about Pinecone Road?

The District and the City of Sartell have been working together as the District has been moving through the facilities planning process.  In the City of Sartell Master Plan, infrastructure improvements are planned to happen to Pinecone Road while considering that a new high school would be on the proposed site.  See the joint press release.

Will you allow for Open Enrollment?

The district will continue to follow its current enrollment practices which meet state statute and follow district policy.  This means, to go to school in the district, you must live in the district.  There are two exceptions.  Children of staff members and students who have aattended the district for over one year continuously may also attend schools within the district.  Since the 1990’s, this policy/practice has helped the district in planning for growth, fiscal responsibility and has been supported by our district constituents.  

How does this fit into the district’s long-term plan?

Our district has anticipated another facility would be needed based on growth of the district. The Community Schools Planning Committee was enacted to put forth the best plan based on effective planning, anticipated enrollment and district and community values.  This is Phase One of a Three Phase Plan.  The other two phases build on to Phase One to conitune to enhance facilities, accommodate growth and support well-being of students.

When will the vote take place?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM.  Learn more about voting.

Where do I vote on May 24?

Polling places have been combined into three polling locations and may be different than during a general election vote.  


Polling Location

City of Sartell:  
1, 2, 3, 4,
 & LeSauk Township

LeSauk Township Hall
220 4th Ave. S.
Sartell, MN

City of Sartell:
5, 6, & 7

Celebration Lutheran Church
1500 Pinecone Road
Sartell, MN

City of St. Stephen,
and St. Wendel and
Brockway Townships

St. Stephen City Hall
2 6th Ave. SE.
St. Stephen, MN


Click here to type in your address and find outyour polling place for the May 24 election.

Click here for a Sartell Precinct Map.

Why will the vote take place on May 24?

By holding a May 24 vote, the district would be able to open a high school in the fall of 2019.  If the district waited until November, it could push that opening date back at least six months.

What are school bonds?

District voters can vote to authorize the district to borrow money through selling bonds for building projects and repairs which would be paid back using revenue from taxpayers.  The proposed bonding for the 2016 referendum would be a 25 year bond for adding additional space for all learners across our district, enhancing safety and security in our facilities, and supporting flexible learning spaces for the next generation of learners. 

Doesn't the district have some bonds that will be paid off soon?

The district does have bonds that will be ending in 2017 and 2021.  The increased amount on the linked chart, however, would stay constant for the next 25 years as the 2017 and 2021 bonds have been figured in to overall tax impact.

How would the district use the bonding funds?

The proposed bonding dollars would be used to create space for next generation learners, further enhance the safety, security and well-being of our students.  The projects are listed in the chart below.  A detailed project list is also available at the district office or online.


Budget Allocation

Pine Meadow Elementary


Oak Ridge Elementary


Existing Middle School


Existing High School to Grade 6-8 MS


New High School


Borrowing Costs





How will you fund for the operations of a new building?

With the addition of space, additional levy funds will need to be secured to support the ongoing costs associated with a new facility.  The Board will continue to thoughtfully plan while being fiscally responsible.  A levy vote will need to happen prior to the 2019 opening of the new facility.  If education funding stays the same, the forecast by the district would be a levy estimated at $5-$7 a month on the average $180,000 home.

In the district plan, it redefines grade configurations to PreK-2 (ORE and PME buildings), 3-5 (current SMS building), 6-8 (current SHS building) and 9-12 at the new school.  Why did the district choose this?

When the Community Schools Planning Committee looked at enrollment growth alongside facility capacity and a likely possibility of more funding from the state for early childhood/four-year-old programming, they wanted to ensure there would be enough space to accommodate the needs of students without overcrowding at any one facility.  This also helps with opportunities, curriculum and programming for more targeted grade levels.

What is the difference between an operating levy and a bond referendum?

Bond referendums are for capital expenses including building and repairs.  In general terms, bonds are for buildings.

What would happen if the bond referendum is not authorized?

With our facilities already being at or above capacity to maximize student learning, the district would need to determine the best plan of action to support student learning within the constraints of the budget or increase class sizes to have even more students in a classroom.

How will the new authorization affect my property taxes?

If the bond is approved, a household with an estimated market value of $180,000 (the average for the district) would see a monthly increase over the 2015 district tax of about $22.30, or a yearly increase of $267.54. for bonding.  Tax impact charts for other home values can be found on the district’s website or at the district office.

Have more questions?  Email us at  We would love to hear from you and answer your questions.