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Pine River-Backus School Board: Referendum project funding changes. May referendum eyed.

Graphic: Kodet Architectural Group

The Pine River-Backus School Board changed gears slightly, agreeing to fund part of a proposed improvements project using $1.39 million in existing fund balances and seek $15.4 million from voters in a bond referendum.

The board decided the individual projects previously considered for a $16.2 million improvements project were all still warranted and important, but funding could come from a source other than a bond referendum, thus reducing the tax impact of the proposed projects.

During the Monday, Dec. 17, regular board meeting, a new flyer for the public was presented that outlines improvements and funding. Four projects would still be funded through the bond referendum, specifically $11.06 million for a multi-purpose performing arts center, $533,000 in football field and track upgrades, $1.94 million for career and technical education spaces and $1.24 million for a high school gym renovation. The projects total $15.4 million for construction and bond.

The remaining projects include high school media center renovations and outdoor storage building construction.

Business manager Jolene Bengtson presented new tax impact projections to the board with the adjusted numbers. The owner of a $100,000 home would see an annual property tax increase of $51 for 20 years. The owner of a $200,000 home would see an annual increase of $128.

Public information sessions are still scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15; Thursday, Feb. 7; Tuesday, March 5; and Thursday, April 18, in the high school media center.

Nothing has been finalized for the proposed improvements project. The board expects to vote in January to begin the bonding process. A public vote would be held in May.

More up-to-date information may be found at