What if the Referendum Fails?
Dear Neighbors~
Packed elementary gymnasium
I've been asked several times What if the referendum doesn’t pass ?
Frankly, it will be disappointing. We have delivered a great service bringing people into our communities, building a reputation as a terrific school system, while districts around us were cutting programs and staff, and yet we still have the same local taxes as 27 years ago.
 
It is our duty to communicate the impact of your "yes" vote, as well as your "no" vote.  If the referendum is not approved, the School Board would most likely consider the following moves:
  • Because we have tried to maintain a flat local levy, the School Board lowered our lease levy just to decrease local property taxes and offset some local increases that came from the State. We then used some general fund reserve dollars to support our current lease payments.
  • If we cannot build classrooms, we would likely rent more portables to support the children moving through our elementary grades. We would need to raise the lease levy in 2019 to pay the annual rental fees. Depending on setup costs, transport and rental, this could cost $100,000 to $150,000 per year. New state laws require a cement foundation, even for rented portables that we would never own. Our current portables do not have that foundation so may need to be upgraded to meet this requirement. This lease levy would raise taxes and does not get the Ag2School Credit, since it does not meet the standard of school bond construction.
  • Then we still have the issue of limited space in our current band room. We need one decent band room that can serve all the elementary, middle school, and high school students – including those from Holy Trinity. We cannot rent this type of space, so we would likely have to take a large portion of the reserve dollars we have built up for emergencies and cash flow to build this necessary space.
  • The kitchen work cannot be done until the band room is completed, since one is contingent upon the other. We would have to see when some combination of reserve funds and Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Funds (LTFM) could support that project. The challenge with using up the LTFM funds on this project is that it impacts other pending needs, like the 7th grade Science room, which is still in the 1963 part of the school, and the roof at Pioneer Elementary School along with our already scheduled roof work for Healy.
  • None of these solutions fix the need for physical space for children at the elementary school. There is no short-term rental solution to that problem.
 
The model in Minnesota is that operational funds are for annual costs and LTFM funds are for repairs. Construction Bonds are supposed to cover needed new or remodeled facilities. Those bonds need voter approval. Ideally, classroom needs are met with high quality construction paid for through voter approved bonds that will serve the district for 50+ years, like the Healy building has.

As you can see, there is no decent, long-term answer to the question; what if it fails?


JUST THE FACTS
School districts are required by law to not advocate for or against ballot questions – we can only provide facts. If you hear something in the community that doesn’t seem quite right, please turn to Pierz Schools for information. You’ll find it in this brochure, on our website and on our Facebook page. Our goal is for all voters to know the impact of a "yes" vote and a "no" vote, and to make an informed decision. Please contact me via email @ gweber@pierz.k12.mn.us  or call me at 320-468-6458 with any questions.

Please get the facts and make an informed decision, and vote on or before April 10~

George Weber, Superintendent
** Ag Tax FACTS **
Pierz Schools and the state of Minnesota
combine to minimize referendum tax impact to farmers
AG Tax comparison
The tax increase is kept low by the district decreasing the lease levy and the state approving the Ag2School 40% tax credit for farmers. 
Make an Informed Decision
Pierz School Referendum '18
Hand in Hand referendum logo
A district-wide mailer was sent to every school district resident this past week.
It contains pertinent information about the referendum along with a site plan and voting information.
Healy Highlights
Kindness project
Kindness is Contagious at Healy
The halls of Healy high school are adorned with student-created reminders of ways to spread kindness, extend compassion and form friendships with fellow classmates. Warm fuzzies all around!
Band Concert
Standing Room Only!
The Spring Band Concert "Band-O-Rama" was another breathtaking event. Here, the mass band practices with Mr. Weber as conductor, as chairs and bleachers patiently wait to be filled for the evening.
Pioneer Elementary School News
Recyle, Reduce, Reuse, Create
Recycle, Reduce, Reuse--Create!
Mrs. Adamski’s Kindergartners created tiles for the Great River Arts Center in Little Falls. These tiles are made from garbage and recycled materials and will be used for a display at the art center during April for Great River Art's theme of Go Green! the entire month of April. Way to go, kiddos!
Future Electrical Engineers
Future Electrical Engineers
Fourth graders worked with Tech Mobile last week, learning all about electricity. They learned about open and closed circuits through tools like Makey Makey and Snap Circuits. These fun invention kits can also be purchased through places like Amazon (educational birthday gift hints:)

The future is looking 'bright!'
**Student Spotlight**
Featuring students in grades 5-12 selected by their teachers for being awesome humans.
We wish we could feature ALL our hard-working students!
Hunter Popp
Christina Woitalla
Hunter Popp & Christina Woitalla
Hunter Popp and Christina Woitalla, Senior Peer Helpers both wanted to work with younger students to make a difference and are paired with Holy Trinity students in 5th and 6th grade. They will be meeting with both classes beginning March, 8th and continuing in April and May-focusing on Sportsmanship with 6th graders and Leadership with 5th graders.
Lance Otremba
Lance Otremba, 8th Grade
Nominated by Mr. Kummet: "Lance Otremba has created a YouTube Channel, Get up and Go Outdoors, making educational videos about things they do outside, encouraging others to also explore the outdoors." Pretty cool, Lance!
Upcoming Events
1st Annual Night of Jazz poster
Announced at our March 19 concert, our 1st Annual Pierz Night of Jazz is on Saturday April 28 at 6pm at the Pierz Ballroom! Tickets are on sale now!

Adults $20 ($25 at the door) and Students $10 (Recommended 6th grade or older).
Hors D'oeuvres and Desserts will be served and there will be a cash bar! Tickets will also be available through any student involved in music or at the district office.
Contact Mr. Pohland at jpohland@pierz.k12.mn.us or 320-468-6458 ext.1433 for more information.

This is a night you will not want to miss! Get your tickets today!
Pioneers logo
Pierz Public Schools #484
District Office: 320.468.6458
112 Kamnic Street, Pierz, MN 56364