School Bond Referendum Link

Presentation on the Scope of the School Referendum Project

Click on the link below to view a PDF of a power point presentation illustrating the scope of the project of the upcoming school referendum. There are also graphs of the cost impact for residential and agriculture land (both homestead and non-homestead properties). Please note on the graphs that the blue graphs are for existing debt for P-E-M and other area schools and the red identifies what the increase would equal with a successful referendum vote.

Public information meetings will be October 4th (Millville Grace Church Fellowship Hall), October 11th (P-E-M Jr. High Choir Room), and October 15th (P-E-M HS Gym)...all at 7:00 PM.

Power Point Presentation (as a PDF)

PEM-Review and Comment

Tax Impact Calculator for the Referendum

The P-E-M School District has worked with Springsted, Inc., the district’s financial advisor, to develop a tax calculator that will allow residents to receive an estimate of  the tax impact due to the upcoming bond issue for their particular property.  The tax calculator will be available on the school district website and may be accessed beginning on August 15th. 

To use the calculator, residents simply select the property type that they are checking – this might be homestead residential, commercial & industrial, non-homestead agriculture, etc.  Once that choice is made, enter the estimated market value for your property (the estimated market value (EMV) may be found on your most recent property tax statement) and press the “Calculate” button.  The estimated annual tax resulting from the passing of the ballot question will appear along with a monthly estimate as well.  For agriculture property, the user will need to enter the number of acres, the total estimated market value (EMV) and the value of the home on the property if there is one. 

If residents have questions about the tax impact on their individual property, you are encouraged to attend one of the public meetings to be held regarding this election, contact district officials or contact Kelly Smith with Springsted at 651-223-3000.

Tax Impact Calculator for the Referendum

School Board to Make Facility Decisions Based on Community Feedback


The P-E-M Schools have been trying to address facility needs for over four years. In 2016, there was a failed referendum attempt. Since then, the School District has focused efforts on finding out what was too much on the last referendum, what wasn’t enough, and what is of primary education need at this time.

During the past year two years, District administration reviewed former referendum items (as well as items not on the former referendum attempt) and received feedback from staff and community about facility needs. During the last school year, P-E-M Schools offered 4 community tours of the buildings and had feedback and Q & A sessions, and then established a Facility Advisory Committee that reviewed staff recommendations for improvements, and identified items for the development of a community survey.

This past spring, the Plainview-Elgin-Millville School Board did a survey with the community members informing residents of evaluated needs for the facilities, and asking for feedback. The survey had a very good response (908 responses), and the feedback was very clear.

The P-E-M School Board had a special board work session to discuss the survey results and the facility needs, and make decisions based upon the community’s feedback.  Although there were items of recommended need not supported by the community in the survey, there were several items that had solid support. The District is focusing efforts on those supported items and took action at the July Board meeting to authorize Wendel Architects and Kraus-Anderson Construction to submit a Review and Comment Report on behalf of the District to the Minnesota Department of Education for a bond referendum that will go to the taxpayers on the November 6th(General Election) election. The Board also approved Springsted financial to work on the cost impact for residents, businesses, and land owners. The School Board will take official action calling for the election at the August Board meeting.


Summary of Survey Results

Items of Support

  • The community wants the District to address facility needs. 75% of the community responded that they want the District to “Create a plan, based on survey feedback, and ask for voter support through a bond referendum”. 18% said they were “Undecided / would need more information”, and 7% said, “Do nothing at this time.” – 75% is a clear directive to move forward.
  • When asked when the District should plan to address the schools’ facility needs, 82% responded as either “As soon as possible (52%) or “Within the next 2-5 years (30%)”. With 82% of the community responding to act soon, it is a validation of realizing the need and an endorsement to address issues.
  • Improve School Safety and Security84% of residents were either “Very likely (60%)” or “Somewhat likely (24%)” to support Improved Safety and Security – This would include more secure entrances and fire protection for the 4-6 Elementary Building. Possible cost $2.28 million.
  • ADA Accessibility Updates– 83% of residents were either “Very likely (53%) or “Somewhat likely (30%)” to support ADA Handicap Accessibility Updates to District facilities– Possible cost of $1.7 million.
  • Bathroom Updates– 86% of residents were either “Very likely (58%)” or “Somewhat likely (28%) to support a plan to update restrooms throughout the District. Possible cost of $1 million.
  • Update High School Science Rooms– 81% of residents were either “Very likely (51%)” or “Somewhat likely (30%) to support a plan that updates HS Science rooms. Possible cost of $1.49 million.
  • Update Career and Tech Classrooms and Shops80% of residents were either “Very likely (48%)” or “Somewhat likely (32%) to support a plan that updates the secondary metal and wood shops. Possible cost of $1.3 million.
  • Air Quality – HVAC Systems for the 4-6 and 7-8 Buildings - 81% of residents were either “Very likely (50%)” or “Somewhat likely (26%) to support a plan that provides funding to add a HVAC Air Quality system to the 4-6 and 7-8 buildings. Possible cost of $8.9 million.


    Items not Supported in Survey

  • Updates to Weight Rooms and Locker Rooms– The community was not as supportive of updating the Jr. High and High School locker rooms and weight rooms with 57% either “Very likely (28%)” or “Somewhat likely (29%)” to support those upgrades, but a strong “Not likely (37%)” indicating this is something that should not be on the referendum – possible cost was listed as $2.63 million.
  • Dedicated Cafeteria / Commons– The community was not as supportive of an upgrade at the Plainview Campus with 67% either “Very likely (38%)” or “Somewhat likely (29%)” to support that project, but a strong “Not likely (27%)” indicating this is something that should not be on the referendum – possible cost was listed as $4 million.
  • Dedicated Performance / Large Group Space– The community gave a clear “no” to a 600 seat auditorium with 56% “Not likely” to support it, and only 22% “Very likely” and 15% “Somewhat likely” . . . but also didn’t show a lot of support for a 2ndoption of a “Cafetorium” that would create a space for performance in a new cafeteria with 36% “Not likely” to support and only 24% “Very likely” and another 31% listed as “Somewhat likely to support the alternative option. The full auditorium cost was listed as $6.3 million with the 2ndalternative option listed at 1.3 million.



Advice on New School vs. Renovation


When asked to give the District advice to consider building a new High School or investing/updating the Plainview Campus, only 17% of the community said to build a new school with another 18% saying that they would support either option. The 35% minority of support clearly states the community doesn’t support building new and the survey data indicated that 13% does not support either option and a strong 38% said: “Invest in / update the Plainview Campus”.


Funding Support – Decisions


The survey listed the funding support for projects from the community to be at $16.5 million for projects. In reviewing the supported items on the responses, the estimated cost could be as high as $16.67 million. At the Board work session on June 28th, the Board decided to scale back some projects and get the total Bond Referendum amount down to $15.5 million. By scaling some things back, or delaying them and using alternative funding methods the district will get through Long Term Facilities Maintenance funds (LTFM) or Capital in the future, some items can be phased in over time, etc. The Board feels the $15.5 million dollar request to be reasonable and can meet the basic education needs of our students.


Tax Impact 


The School Board has authorized Springsted financial to do a cost impact for homes, businesses, and landowners on a $15.5 million dollar bond referendum. New to Minnesota for 2016 is the AG2School credit that has reduced the cost on Ag land 40% for current and future school bonds . . . this should help reduce the impact on our Ag landowners greatly. The Plainview-Elgin-Millville School District has one of the lowest school tax bases in the state of Minnesota, and even with a positive referendum, it would still be one of the lowest. There is an attached spreadsheet indicating what the tax impact will be for home, business, and property owners.

In the next month, the school district will have more information with details, and impact statements both in the Paw Print and on their website.


Lots of Work Ahead 


There is still a lot of work ahead for the District in planning, prioritizing, and identifying what can be phased in over time, etc., but the District asked the community for feedback, they have listened, and are making plans based on that feedback. 

There are items of need that the administration, staff, and Board feel are items that need to be addressed that were not supported in the survey, but those items will have to wait or be phased in over time without going to the taxpayers on a referendum.

The upcoming referendum is a “Meat and Potatoes” kind of a bond request, but it is one that we feel is much needed, and the community is supporting. It has been almost 20 years since facilities in either the former Elgin-Millville or Plainview Schools were upgraded. I look forward to the work ahead to address these items to provide the current and future students of     P-E-M Schools the best education we can give them.

-Bill Ihrke 


Plainview-Elgin-Millville Schools



Attached are the P-E-M Community Survey Results done in May/June of 2018. 

The survey was done by School Perceptions on behalf of the Plainview-Elgin-Millville Schools to educate the community about identified facility needs and to get community feedback for support addressing those needs. 

The School Board will be using the data from the survey to identify an action plan to improve facilities. A plan may include asking the voters to consider some items on a bond referendum and/or look at alternative funding methods for some identified projects. The District will also use the survey and identified needs to prioritize what facility items may need to be phased in over time. 
Bill Ihrke
P-E-M Schools

P-E-M 2018 Community Survey Report

P-E-M 2018 Community Survey Report.pdf