School District 622 to Request Voter Approval for Districtwide School Improvements

After more than two years of planning, community input, and revision, the District 622 (North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale) School Board unanimously approved asking residents to support improvements to the district’s schools to provide safe, up-to-date, and healthy learning environments.

The bond referendum request will come to voters on a May 14, 2019, election. If approved by voters, funds would be used to:

  • Add secure entrances to all schools
  • Provide all schools with modern furniture and flexible classroom spaces for independent, small group, and large group learning
  • Renovate and/or expand five schools
  • Build two new elementary schools
  • Close or repurpose four schools

The tax increase for the average homeowner would be only $5 per month even though construction costs would total $275 million. This is because the district is paying off old debt - providing an opportunity to reinvest in schools by taking on new debt with little additional cost to taxpayers.

Background provided by Superintendent Christine Osorio for the request included:

  • Most District 622 school buildings are over 50 years old, have never had a comprehensive renovation and are not designed for today’s learning environment.
  • The facilities review process identified many challenges, including: Inappropriate learning spaces; offices in showers and closets; and fixtures, furniture, heating/cooling systems in disrepair.
  • There are unsafe traffic conditions and crowding at many sites.
  • Most schools would benefit from a more secure entrance and additional safety measures.
  • District 622 residents pay less in total school property taxes than most comparable districts.
  • It is less expensive to build some new schools, consolidate others and update the remaining buildings than it would be to fix all the existing buildings.
  • Because the district is paying off old debt, there is an opportunity to reinvest in the schools by taking on new debt with little additional cost to taxpayers.

“We engaged our staff, parents and community members in an extensive facility review to help shape our final proposal,” said Superintendent Osorio. “We are excited that this recommendation would update schools across the district, with a minimal tax increase for residents.”