We are now just a little over a month away from a special election regarding a new 3rd - 5th grade elementary school.  The project, if approved by voters, would allow construction of a 102,000 square foot facility located on 29 acres across from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.  The project cost is $54.8 million dollars payable over 22 years.  The average home in the Fergus Falls School District is valued at approximately $250,000.  If passed, it would result in a tax increase of $100 per year on a $250,000 home or $8.00 per month.  

There are many opportunities to learn about the proposal.  I have written several articles detailing various aspects of the project and the rationale behind the request.  Ultimately, it is about creating a better learning environment for our students and maximizing instructional time.

If you would like to learn more about the proposal, I encourage you to visit the district’s website:  https://www.fergusotters.org/

There is a link on the website that will take you to a special section devoted to the bond.  It contains a tremendous amount of information.  General topics include:

Our Challenges

Full Facility Study conducted by ATS&R - the firm that designed the 2010 KSS project.

The Plan

Selected Site

How would a new 3-5 grade elementary school benefit students?

The Cost

Tax impact table

Debt service table

Voting Information

Three ways to vote

Absentee voting is available now

Frequently Asked Questions / Resources

School Board Information

School Bond Fast Facts

Referendum Sample Ballot

Formal Election Resolution

Minnesota Department of Education Favorable Review & Comment

New School Presentation

Online Tax Impact Calculator Tool

In addition, the following public forums will be held for members of the public to listen to a short presentation and have the opportunity to ask questions: 

School Bond Public Forum, Friday, April 12th at 8:00 a.m.

School Bond Public Forum, Tuesday, April 16th at 6:30 p.m.

School Bond Public Forum, Tuesday, April 23rd at 6:30 p.m.

All forums will be held in the community education area of the Roosevelt Education Center, 340 Friberg Avenue.  Enter through the main doors, the entrance to community education will be on the left.  

The special election will be held on Tuesday, May 14th, 2024. The combined polling places for this election and the precincts served by the combined polling places will be as follows:

Fergus Falls Public Library – Community Room

205 Hampden Avenue, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

This combined polling place serves all territory located in Independent School District No. 544 in the City of Fergus Falls, Ward 1, Precincts 1 and 2, City of Dalton, Dane Prairie Township and Tumuli Township; Otter Tail County, Minnesota.  

YMCA – Community Room, 1164 Friberg Avenue, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

This combined polling place serves all territory located in Independent School District No. 544 in the City of Fergus Falls, Ward 2, Precincts 1 & 2, Aurdal Township, Friberg Township, Maine Township and Sverdrup Township; Otter Tail County, Minnesota. 

MN State Community & Technical College - Legacy Hall 

1414 College Way,  Fergus Falls, MN 56537

This combined polling place serves all territory located in Independent School District No. 544 in the City of Fergus Falls, Ward 3, Precincts 1 and 2, Carlisle Township, Elizabeth Township, City of Elizabeth, Fergus Falls Township, Oscar Township; Otter Tail County, Minnesota; and Akron Township in Wilkin County, Minnesota. 

Bigwood Event Center-Page Room, 925 Western Avenue, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

This combined polling place serves all territory located in Independent School District No. 544 in the City of Fergus Falls, Ward 4, Precincts 1 and 2, Aastad Township, Buse Township, Orwell Township and Western Township; Otter Tail County, Minnesota.

Any eligible voter residing in the School District may vote at said election at the combined polling place designated above for the precinct in which he or she resides.  The polls for said election will be opened at 7:00 o’clock a.m. and will close at 8:00 o’clock p.m. on the date of said election. 

District residents can vote early by absentee ballot during the hours of 8:00 am-4:00 pm at the District Office located at Kennedy Secondary School (Door A), 601 Randolph Avenue, Fergus Falls MN.

A voter must be registered to vote to be eligible to vote in this election.  An unregistered individual may register to vote at the combined polling place designated above for the precinct in which he or she resides on election day.

Greetings!

On behalf of the Fergus Falls Public School District, I extend a warm welcome.  We are honored that you have entrusted us with the care and education of your child. 

The Fergus Falls Public School District is a special place.  Our mission statement outlines our commitment to each and every child:  “The mission of the Fergus Falls Public Schools is to prepare productive and engaged members of society by creating an environment where all students reach their full potential.”

What will your child’s experience be as a member of our school community?  Children will be surrounded by adults who care about them.  We will provide the necessary support to help ensure that each child is successful.  Children will be challenged.  That’s how new skills are developed and how learning, confidence and leadership is fostered. 

In providing a robust 21st century learning environment - we emphasize the five “Cs” - Core Knowledge, Creative Problem Solving, Communication, Contributing Citizen and Character.  These core competencies ensure that our students will be well-positioned for success wherever their dreams take them.

We pride ourselves on providing a rigorous academic curriculum with a diverse selection of electives.  We support our students with a 1:1 technology initiative to augment instruction, we have strong vocational programs and excellent participation among our students in the arts.  A large percentage of our students are involved in co-curricular activities and our programs are highly respected and competitive.  In summary, we offer the family atmosphere of a small rural school combined with the opportunities typically only found in much larger districts. 

Through the process of discovering and developing their talents, interests and skills, our students are going to make great memories, grow in confidence, become leaders in our school and community and form lifelong friendships.  Once an Otter, always an Otter!

Warmest Regards,

Jeff Drake

Superintendent