School board to hold off on proposed HVAC levy

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Benson Public Schools will not pursue a levy for heating, cooling, and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements to the senior high school at this time.

The decision to delay action on what could have been a $4.6 to $5 million bond levy for the HVAC work at the senior high appeared unanimous as no school board member disagreed with the delay.

Unlike the $26.3 million levy approved by the district’s voters Aug. 14 by a nearly 70 percent margin, this levy would not have needed voter approval.

It was very appropriate for the board of education to explore the options for funding HVAC improvements to the school in conjunction with the voter-approved building levy, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said Monday night.

There were efficiencies to doing it now, he added, as a reason for exploring the possibility for the additional levy.

Jeff Seeley, a vice president of Ehlers, a Roseville public finance advising company, explored the options with the board, which was the right thing to do, he added.

No decision was made at the Sept. 5 special school board meeting on the HVAC bonding and there was no recommendation on how the board should proceed, Laumeyer said.

The citizen task force that had studied the options for the school levy didn’t see a levy for building a new school feasible with a cost of $50 million or more, so the district now must face dealing with its older buildings and the work they need, he told the school board.

Based on the feedback he has received from people on the proposed HVAC levy, Laumeyer said now was not the time to do it. However, it will have to be done at some time in the future, he added.

Board Chair Chad Payne said that based on the feedback he has received on the proposed HVAC levy, that he agreed now was not the time to pursue it. The lines of communication need to be kept open on the HVAC needs and how far in the future the board makes the decision to address those needs is yet to be determined, he said....


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