How Projects Are Funded

Posted by Megan Norgren on 1/16/2024 1:00:00 PM

As a fairly new Superintendent, I have been learning a ton! Minnesota has one of the most complicated education funding systems in the nation. Our district has a lot of projects in the works. I want to take a moment to share updates regarding those projects, including how the projects are being funded. 

The state provides schools with funding by putting the money in certain “buckets” which are coded for specific types of expenditures. The projects I have listed below do not affect our general education fund balance, but are projects designed to provide a better learning environment for staff and students, provide long-term facilities planning and updates, as well as add security and safety measures.         

Maintenance and Building Upgrades Project

Funding Source: Long Term Facility Maintenance Bonds and Local Tax Bond sales triggered by School Board authority, and a splash from the Booster Club.  

This will be the biggest project over the next couple of years. This project will also prepare the old cafeteria in the basement of the middle school to be used as a multipurpose fitness area, creating a more equitable space for our female and special education students. The Booster Club will be involved in helping to fund this space as well.  

The project scope includes all buildings in the district and will focus on roofing repairs, pipes, asbestos removal, dehumidification and heating upgrades. The bulk of this work will begin the summer of 2025 and finish the summer of 2026. Detailed timelines will be communicated once the bidding for the projects is completed this summer. Staff should be aware that our summer programming will be affected during this time and not our regular school calendar. I have been working with the building leaders to brainstorm alternative spaces for summer. Information about this project can be found on our school website:    

Solar for Schools: Installation of solar panels on the HS/MS and PW Roofs

Funding Source: The district qualified for a Solar for Schools grant through the state of Minnesota. This grant will pay for the entirety of the project.

The project scope includes installation of solar panels on the HS/MS roofs as well as the Prairie Woods roof.  Prairie Meadows is already a part of a solar garden program and is powered through a different power company - which is why Prairie Meadows did not qualify for this particular grant. The solar panels are projected to help the district save over $1million in utility costs over 20 years.    

Fob System: Installation on outside doors of all buildings

Funding Source: Capital Funding from the state of Minnesota.

The new fobbing system will add security for all our buildings. Completion of this project has been slower due to the contractor’s slower than expected progress, but should be done in the near future.

Softball Shed: Replacing the outdoor classroom that has been used for storage for our softball and baseball teams as well as summer recreation programs 

Funding Source: Bernick’s Grant and Booster Club
Many years ago, when the district no longer needed to use outdoor classrooms, one of the outdoor classrooms was moved near the softball field to be used as a storage shed. This building is falling apart and is infested. We are waiting to hear if we will be awarded a grant to tackle this project. If awarded, the district will partner with the Booster Club to create a storage area, concession stand, and possibly bathrooms to replace this dilapidated outdoor classroom/softball storage shed.  

My hope is that this information gives a better understanding of the behind the scenes for our district’s upcoming projects. As always I am available to your questions by phone, email or appointment.