RPS Referendum Early Voting

Voters line up on the last day of early voting in the Rochester Public Schools referendum Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, at the RPS Edison Administration Building in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

There's a two-part question on the ballot for Rochester voters, with millions at stake.

People who live in the Rochester Public Schools district are being asked to approve a two-part school bond referendum asking for a total of $180.9 million.

The first question asks for $171.4 million toward constructing a new elementary school, a new middle school and to enlarge two elementary schools -- Bishop and Longfellow -- on their current sites, to address capacity rates nearing 100 percent.

The second question asks for $9.5 million to build a competition pool at Century High School and close the district's three middle school pools -- spaces that would be used for programming or classes. Closing the pools and busing middle school students to the high school pools for class would be a space and money saver, compared to the maintenance costs for the pools, referendum supporters say.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Other school bonds and school board races, a contest to fill a county commissioner seat in Goodhue County, and a bond request for an aquatic center in Byron make up the other ballots in Southeast Minnesota. With polls due to close at 8 p.m. Tuesday, votes will be tallied through the night.

Here's every race in Southeast Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State's website:

County Races

Goodhue County

Special Election for Commissioner, District 1

Linda Flanders

Darwin Fox


City of Byron

Bond Referendum

Question: $9,100,000 to finance the acquisition and betterment of an aquatic facility.

City of Ostrander

Special Election For Council Member

Dan Hellerud


Cannon Falls School District

Special Election for School Board Member

Mike Dalton

Larry Robinson

Chatfield School District

Special Election for School Board Member

Dorothy-Helen L. Billmeier

Rick Lowrey

Kenyon-Wanamingo School District

Operating Levy Referendum

Question 1: Revoke the current operating levy of $295.68 per pupil and replace with an operating levy of $600 per pupil.

Question 2: Authorize an additional $300 per pupil levy.

Kingsland School District

School Board Member

Noella Lynn Lund

Operating Levy Referendum

The school board has proposed a per pupil levy of $842. The levy would replace the existing operating levy of $127.82 per pupil, which is scheduled to expire after taxes payable in 2019.

Lyle School District

Operating Levy Referendum

The referendum would, if passed, increase the operating levy by $850 per pupil and increase each year by the rape of inflation, and be applicable for 10 years starting in 2020.

Mabel-Canton School District

Special Election for School Board

Dustin Tollefsrud

Rochester School District

Bond Referendum

Question 1: $171,400,000 for betterment of school sites and facilities, including reconstruction of Bishop and Longfellow elementary schools, construction of a new elementary school and a new middle school, security upgrades at all school buildings, auditorium upgrades at all three high schools and land acquisition.

Question 2: $9,500,000. Would construct a new swimming pool at Century High School and upgrade the pool at Mayo High School.  

St. Charles School District

Bond Referendum

Question 1: $13.63 million. At the elementary school, there would be construction of a new cafeteria and kitchen, remodeling the current cafeteria space for early childhood care and kindergarten. At the high school, projects would include a new science wing, secure entrances and a new main office, remodeling old classrooms on the main and second floors, and a new agriculture, food science, metal and wood shops plus a remodeled greenhouse. 

Question 2: $4.87 million. Construction of a new metal auxiliary gym, fitness center, changing rooms, training room and public restrooms on the West Gym, and upgraded boys and girls locker rooms.

Stewartville School District

Operating Levy Referendum

If passed, the referendum would replace the current $17.92 per pupil operating levy with a $246.41 per pupil operating levy.

Triton School District

Special Election for School Board Member

Duane Bartel

Operating Levy Referendum

The school board proposed an operating levy of $750 per pupil. The levy would begin with taxes payable in 2020 and last for 10 years.

Winona Area School District

District 4 School Board Member

Zumbrota-Mazeppa School District

Special Election for School Board Member

Stephanie Miller

Bond Referendum

Question 1: $38,585,000. Expand and renovate all three campuses, including secure entrances, new classroom space and, at the middle/high school improve and expand the career and technical education space for modern learning. At the elementary school, the current gym would be re-purposed as a cafeteria.

Question 2: $3,350,000. Build a new gym at the elementary school in Mazeppa, replacing the old one that would become the school's cafeteria.

Question 3. $4,945,000. A new gym in Zumbrota for both physical education and athletics, upgraded track and baseball fields, including more seating and improved accessibility.

What's your reaction?