High School rendering

MCC Community,
     I humbly ask each of you to take time to read our Building Referendum Brochure which was mailed out. It is very important that you are informed and vote in the August 9 election regarding building improvements. The brochure shares key information about the challenges we have been facing, solutions our staff and community developed, the costs of the project, and how you can vote. We have many additional resources for learning about the project on our website: www.buildmccstrong.org. If you did not receive a brochure, you can view it online here: https://bit.ly/3y3sxLl. 
     Last year’s very close vote helped our school board spend more time listening to our community and our school staff. This year’s plan is a reflection of what was learned by listening throughout community visits during the election process last year and the community meetings held along the way. 
     Our district has been steadily growing in student numbers. Nearby work in Thief River Falls and our small thriving community is an attractive option for young families. We have been doing our best to keep up with the growth but those accommodations are not enough to keep up with our space needs. The school board did the responsible thing working with the community and the school staff to forward a plan to move past our challenges and add necessary space to help meet our needs now while still planning for the future. 
     Our school district is one of few in rural Minnesota that is growing. As a school we embrace listening to our families and our community to improve our schools. Our adjustments and responsiveness allow us to help meet our communities needs. We attract students and this is a good thing. It brings more people into our community to learn and work supporting local businesses and strengthening the town-school connection. Even while growing, we maintain our small town values. This includes maintaining what we have and planning ahead.
     Viking Elementary and Newfolden Elementary were designed as small rural school buildings. As we’ve grown, we’ve modified spaces but further adjustments are necessary to maximize the building usage and reduce overcrowding in some areas. A small addition to Viking will allow more space in the cafeteria for seating, add a handicap accessible music room, and add a staff/family rest room. Moving second grade to Newfolden will free up space to allow for a needed preschool room and special education space. The plan calls for Newfolden Elementary to be a grade 2 - 4 school building. This frees up space to restore the music room and library eliminating the need for elementary students to cross the street for those classes. A staff/parent parking lot eliminates need for any cars to park along the highway increasing visibility and safety around our buildings. MCC High School would receive additions to add on 5th and 6th grade classrooms, a cafeteria/commons area, a secondary gym (used for gym classes, music events, assemblies, special events, junior high athletic practices/games, community education, and other activities), additional rest rooms, a larger weight room, and site improvements allowing for a dedicated parent drop-off pick up lane and additional parking for events. This new plan has a lower cost than last year’s plan.
     It is very important you study the financial pie charts. 70% of the project costs are covered by the state of Minnesota and our four largest tax payers (Enbridge, Great Lakes Transmission, Ottertail Power, and Soo-Line Railroad). This is a huge investment by the state and out state entities that offsets costs for local taxpayers. A valuable option that you should look into is the Minnesota Property tax rebate. Many of our senior citizens, and young families may qualify for this rebate. Qualified home owners and renters that complete the MPR1 form significantly will reduce their property tax via the rebate. We understand people do not like taxes. However, it is the only way we can make capital improvements. Consider this an investment as these tax dollars stay local supporting our school and community.
     It is imperative we address our schools needs. We ask each of you to read the materials, talk to our teaching staff, contact administration, and visit with school board members. This year’s plan is really a clear picture of what was asked for by the community after the vote last year. It is a more conservative approach providing necessary space, improving safety, providing additional learning opportunities, and is future oriented. Thank you for being engaged and involved to learn about our plans. Take the time necessary to hear more about it and reach out if you have questions! 

Superintendent Jeffrey Lund