Referendum asks voters to tear down Grafton Elementary

Administrators want to tear down Grafton Elementary due to failing building conditions, but the process would cost $40 million so they are putting it to the voters via referendum.

A proposal would split the students into two remaining schools after Grafton is torn down, Kennedy and Woodview Elementary Schools. 

Raining days are not good for Grafton Elementary. According to the district, the school has issues with flooding, putting it at risk for mold.

"We know every dollar we put in to Grafton Elementary School is not a good use of taxpayer dollars," said Jeff Nelson the superintendent of Grafton Schools.

The remaining schools will then need extra classrooms and Kennedy would need a new gym.  But that also means there will be one extra administrator, so a principal will lose their job.

"I think everyone is pretty happy with their principal so I think it's going to be really painful no matter who has to lose their principal," said parent Kristin Gasser.

Nelson is listening to community concerns at a local coffee shop in the days leading up to the vote.

Running down the changes on what's different for this referendum compared to the failed one, that originally included upgrades at the high school.  

"The athletic piece is out we are paying for it out of our own budget," Nelson said.

The total cost is $40 million, nearly $10 million cheaper than the failed one. It will cost the average taxpayer who owns a $100,000 home $66 more a year. 

"We've listened to the taxpayers. We reduced it by $7.8 million," Nelson said. "We believe we have prioritized the needs we have in our district."

The superintendent is doing two more question and answer sessions at the AM Coffee Roastery at 1300 14th Avenue in Grafton. He will be there Saturday, April 1 and Monday, April 3 from 8 to 10 a.m.

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