The Commissioner of the Department of Education Review

and Comment on the School Construction Proposal of

Holdingford Public Schools, ISD #738



    Holdingford Public Schools, ISD #738 is proposing a two question bond referendum on November 7, 2017. The first ballot question would authorize a $200 per pupil operating levy increase for a ten year period. The second question would authorize $19.69 million in bonding authority to finance building additions, deferred maintenance, renovations and other upgrades. Passage of the second question is contingent upon passage of the first question.

    The largest proposed project component is a gymnasium/commons area/ secure main entrance addition that includes ancillary space to accommodate: locker rooms, fitness and community rooms, as well as a concession area. Other proposed additions include elementary classrooms and expanded shop facilities.

The projects would be scheduled for completion in calendar years 2018-2020. The estimated project costs associated with the 2nd ballot question are as follows:


Gymnasium    $3,026,800

Lockers/Fitness Area    $1,150,000

Commons Area/Secure Entrance    $1,598,960

Lobby/Concession Area       $606,500

Storage/Restrooms       $448,500

Elementary Classrooms    $2,248,480

Shop Expansion/Upgrades    $1,115,280

Pool Area Seating Expansion       $275,000

Transportation Building Expansion         $60,000

Other Projects/Costs

Fire Code Improvements       $450,000

Deferred Maintenance-Roofing    $2,600,000

Renovations       $525,100

Site Improvements       $830,000

Fees/Permits/Testing/Services    $2,355.520

FF&E    $1,400,000

Contingency    $1,083,233

Bond Issuance Costs       $186,627

    The district has supplied cost estimates to operate and staff the additional building space and believes existing revenues, along with the additional revenue from the passage of the first ballot question, will be sufficient to fund the operational cost increases associated with the proposed facility additions.

    If the bond referendum is successful and bonds are sold, the debt service on the bonds will be eligible for debt service equalization under Minn. Sat. § 123B.53, Subd. 3, if the bond schedule is approved. The amount of debt service equalization aid, if any, the district receives is determined annually and is dependent upon property wealth, student population, and other statutory requirements.


    Based upon the department’s analysis of the school district’s required documentation and other pertinent information from sources of the Minnesota Department of Education, the Commissioner of Education provides a positive review and comment.



Persons desiring additional information regarding this proposal should contact the school district superintendent’s office.

Dr. Brenda Cassellius


August 30, 2017


Holdingford School Board Briefs:

    A School Board work session was held September 6, 2017. Superintendent Swenson entertained feedback from discussions on the proposed Technology Operating Levy and Bond Referendum facility projects at Open House.  The Board members agreed that the positive topics included improving Traffic Flow/Parking at the Elementary, Secure Entrances and the addition of the Multipurpose Center providing for adequate seating for events such as elementary concerts and graduation. There were also some tax questions, Mr. Swenson suggested directing people to look at the tax calculator on the District Website or to contact Ehlers Financial Advisors for specific information. The Board is also looking for clarification on the roof replacement history. The High School portion and Elementary portion will have roofs replaced as part of the facility upgrades if the vote passes. The Intermediate Roof was replaced in 2010. Mr. Swenson will research and presented roof data/history at the next meeting.

        The Sept. 12th and Oct. 9th information meeting format was discussed. Board members Wolter and Higgins will open the meeting with a welcome, introductions and directing folks to the various stations set up with drawings, project information and tax impacts. The required 1st class mail notice will go out around Oct. 9th.

    This article is a summary of the minutes. The full text is available for public inspection at the District Office or online at