Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question about the bond that wasn't answered on our website? Feel free to check out the following responses to our most frequently asked questions. Watch for more answers to be posted here.
What is the difference between a bond and a levy referendum?
Unlike an operating levy, which can be used to pay for teachers, books or other district expenses, bonds can only be used for the construction or remodeling of facilities. A simple way to remember this is that Bonds are for buildings; Levies are for learning.
Why are you asking for a bond now?
Due to housing growth and turnover, the district projects about 1,000 new students will enroll during the next ten years - many of them will live within the boundaries of Afton-Lakeland, Andersen, and Lake Elmo elementary schools and Oak-Land Middle School. All four of these buildings are already at or near capacity, and the projected increase in enrollment would raise their capacities to about 120% at Afton-Lakeland, 115% at Andersen, 130% at Lake Elmo and 116% at Oak-Land. There is an urgent need for more learning spaces within our district to address the growth.
What projects would be included in the bond?
- Replacing Lake Elmo Elementary (built in 1920) within the city of Lake Elmo (location yet to be determined)
- Replacing Andersen Elementary (built in 1919) preferably in Bayport (location yet to be determined)
- Construction of additional classroom space and a new gymnasium at Oak-Land Middle School to make room for an additional 300 students
- Safety and security improvements throughout district facilities, including a secured front entrance addition and remodel at Stillwater Area High School
What happens if the bond doesn’t pass?
- Identified safety and security improvements would not be addressed.
- Our projected enrollment growth would lead to significant overcrowding at Andersen, Afton-Lakeland and Lake Elmo elementary schools and Oak-Land Middle School. Options to address the overcrowding may include higher class sizes and significant boundary adjustments - which would likely impact students in all of our elementary schools.
- We will continue to have inadequate learning spaces, operational challenges and facility maintenance needs with our two 100-year-old buildings, Andersen and Lake Elmo.
Where would a new Lake Elmo Elementary be located?
The district has entered into a purchase agreement, contingent upon passage of the bond, for a parcel of land in Lake Elmo. The 47 acre site is located on the northwest corner of Lake Elmo Avenue and 10th Street North.
Where would a new Andersen Elementary be located?
The district is exploring several possible locations for a new school building to replace Andersen. The desire is to stay within the city of Bayport, if possible, and Barker’s Alps Park has been identified as the preferred location. District leaders are working closely with city officials to address issues and concerns related to Barker’s Alps in hopes of reaching an agreement. While the decision to replace Andersen Elementary has been made by school district officials, the option to relocate at Barker’s Alps is ultimately a Bayport City Council decision.
- If an agreement is reached, the district will work with Andersen staff and families, as well as Bayport residents, to gather input on the facility’s design and campus layout. Maintaining the park’s existing fields and green space - including the trails and popular sledding hill - would be a priority.
- If an agreement is not reached, the district will focus its search on properties further south - likely within Baytown Township or West Lakeland Township.
What will happen to the existing Andersen and Lake Elmo buildings?
No decisions have been made as to the future of the two buildings. If the bond passes, district leaders will gather feedback from the community and continue working with city officials from both Bayport and Lake Elmo to determine the best way to utilize the buildings into the future. Options may include repurposing the buildings for district use or selling them for redevelopment opportunities.
Why can’t Oak Park re-open to accommodate the enrollment growth?
Since Oak Park Elementary was closed in 2017 the building has been home to students in the district’s Bridge Transitions 18 to 21-year-old program. The building has also housed the district’s Special Education department and other support staff. A portion of the building was remodeled in 2022 to meet the unique needs of our Transitions students as they develop career and life skills (learn more). Another remodeling project is currently underway in another portion of the building to create space for the St. Croix Valley Area Learning Center, which serves students in our alternative high school. The new Oak Park Learning Center is expected to be completed in 2024 and will serve students and staff in both of these programs, as well as offer space for other district and community uses.
What's the tax impact of the bond request?
The $175 million request would cost taxpayers with a median priced home of $500,000 approximately $16 per month. Use the Tax Calculator to determine the estimated impact for your home.
How do our taxes compare to other school district's?