Rural Range district narrowly OKs consolidation bond

With few votes to spare, St. Louis County schools passed its bond referendum yesterday 52 percent to 48 percent. (Stories in today’s DNT, on WDIO and elsewhere). This affirms the district’s plan to consolidate its seven K-12 schools into four K-12 schools and an elementary school. The plan combines the building of new schools with the refurbishing of old ones.

District 2142 released the following preliminary precinct results last night:

The three precincts that overwhelmingly opposed the referendum — Cook, Orr and Tower-Soudan — were the three communities that stood to lose a school. In Tower-Soudan’s case, their school will become an elementary. Cook and Orr will receive a new school in between the two towns, somewhere in the wilderness.

Cherry, Cotton, Albrook and Babbitt-Embarrass clearly carried the day for the referendum. These schools easily could have closed had the referendum failed, sending students to nearby districts. As it stands, Cherry and Babbitt-Embarrass will be remodeled and Cotton and Albrook will receive a new shared school at the southern end of the district. It’s interesting how differently Albrook and Cotton reacted as compared with Cook and Orr. I guess I’d theorize that Cook and Orr’s business and civic communities lined up heavily against the bond. Albrook and Cotton lack such infrastructure.


  1. While there were plenty of good reasons to vote either yes or no, one that didn’t ring true was that when a parents comes to a school event, then they shop in town. Oh yeah, like I come early to a game and want to shop, but wait… the stores, except the grocery store are closed, and after the game, even the grocery store is closed.

    One person wrote that if the business community in a town is vibrant, than the schools do well, not the other way around. I have to agree with that.

    Imagine that the doctors at the Cook Hospital are all nearing retirement age and the hospital is recruiting new doctors, what young doctors with families or hoping to have a family will want to live in a community where the voters turn down referendum after referendum on the school issues.

    Or if the people back a few decades had a negative mindset regarding building the hospital and nursing home, there wouldn’t be one now.

    Change is inevitable, but the kind of change that is positive only happens when people take chances.

  2. The referendum will raise the annual property tax payment on a $100,000 home by about $164. What a joke most lake homes on Vermilion have a assesed value of $350k plus. We the summer residents did not get to vote. Only pay for the 80 million dollar levy for 2200 students.

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