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School referendum set for Tuesday

Somerset voters will go to the polls next Tuesday to decide whether the Somerset School District should add 69.05 acres of land to its current campus.

This would nearly double the size of the Somerset School District campus, which currently covers 70 acres.

The referendum is asking for $1.455 million. This covers the price of the land and the government program subsidies that would need to be paid. The property, owned by the DeCosse family, currently is in forest and cropland programs.

This referendum would increase property taxes on a $200,000 parcel by $31.15 per year.

The DeCosse property runs the length of the school district property, along the north border of the school property. The cost of the property works out to about $21,071 per acre.

School district administrator Randy Rosburg said there are several reasons why the referendum is being held in August.

There is general election in November this year, meaning the first general election will be held next April.

That becomes essential, because the seller is adding a seller cost increase to the land price each month, because of the increasing market value of property in the area. St. Croix County is ranked as the fastest growing county in the state and plots of this size in Somerset are becoming rare. So the school district is trying to save money by holding the referendum at this time.

After the failed school referendum in April, school officials talked with district residents. They were met with a unified response. Rosburg said the residents told them they weren't ready to add school buildings, but they said the district should act quickly to secure this land before a developer could purchase it. Continuing the school campus has been a theme among district residents.

Rosburg said he hopes residents view this referendum as the district trying to plan in the long-term for the district's needs.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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