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School District cuts total borrowed for referendum project

One of the two houses currently being renovated at the middle school is set to be done June 1. The middle school project is securely under budget, prompting the district to borrow less money. Rebecca Mariscal / Rivertown Multimedia1 / 2
A model by Bray Architects shows what the front of Hudson High School will look like after construction. The school board approved a decrease to the amount borrowed for the referendum projects. Photo courtesy of Bray Architects.2 / 2

With the Hudson Middle School renovation under budget, the Hudson School Board approved borrowing half a million less than set out by the referendum.

With the final round of bonding, the district will borrow $9.5 million instead of the full $10 million in notes. The total amount approved by the referendum was about $90 million.

The change was prompted by the middle school project, which Superintendent Nick Ouellette said will be $800,000 to $1 million under budget.

At the meeting, the board debated whether or not to continue as planned with the full $10 million. Financial Services Director Tim Erickson said if the board borrowed the full amount, it would have flexibility with its fund balance or could use the money to pay down the debt faster.

Board Member Sandy Gehrke said she was comfortable borrowing the full $10 million, but wanted to make sure the district uses it how it said it would.

"If any money is left from this, I would expect it to pay down the principal," Gehrke said.

Board Member Heather Logelin said it would be prudent to borrow the full amount, and then decide how to use it when the full costs are known.

After a motion was made for the full $10 million, Board President Jamie Johnson said he would not support the amount.

"I don't think we should be borrowing money that we know we're not going to use," Johnson said.

Ouellette explained the district could still come in under the $9.5 million, so it could still have extra funds.

The motion was amended to $9.5 million and passed 6-1, with Sue Kattas voting no.

The board also approved another round of scope packages for the high school, this one totaling about $15 million. After reviewing the project as a whole, Ouellette said the district has found several deductions. Some of these decreases will be approved later on with change orders.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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