FAQ Minibanner and graphic for Referendum 2019

The most common FAQs can be found below. FAQs will be updated as necessary for clarification. If you have a question that has not been answered here, please email your questions to the Communications email.

What are the questions on the ballot?

There will be two questions on a November 5, 2019 ballot.

On March 19, 2019 the Rochester Public School Board unanimously approved the calling of a special election for issuing general obligation school building bonds.

A brief summary of what this means:

  • The first question will address capacity at elementary and middle schools, safety at all school sites, additional land purchases for future elementary and high school growth, and auditorium upgrades at all three high schools. The investment for the projects included in the first question is $171.4 million. 
  • The second question, contingent on the first question passing, will address closing and repurposing the middle school pools to save money and reduce operating costs, in addition to building a competition level pool at Century High School and updating the pool dive well at Mayo High School. The investment for the projects included in the second question is $9.5 million. 
  • If question one and two passed, the total for both questions would equal a $180.9 million referendum. 

See sample ballot.

Help me understand what Question 2 is all about.

This question is proposing the District closes all middle school pools, and build/operate three pools that meet regulations for competitions, including diving competitions, at the three comprehensive high schools only. 

High School Pool Information:

Currently, Rochester Public Schools has one swimming pool that meets regulatory depth compliance and national safety standards for diving. This pool is located at John Marshall High School and is utilized by three girls teams and three boys teams. When there are Big 9 conference competitions in Rochester, the competitions are divided between Mayo High School (for swimming) and John Marshall High School (for diving). As a result, diving competitions and swim meet competitions are conducted at different times and practices must be staggered.

Century High School does not have a swimming pool. 

Middle School Pool Information:

The District has three pools at the middle school level; Willow Creek, John Adams, and Kellogg. The middle school pools do not have diving wells.  John Adams and Kellogg Middle School pools are not 25 yards long, therefore cannot be competitive pools for practice or events. Only Willow Creek's pool meets the specific requirements for swimming competitions.

The middle school pools are older and in need of numerous updates and repairs. After reviewing the District's long-term facility maintenance plan, it would be more cost effective to close the middle school pools and operate only three pools district-wide at the three comprehensive high schools. 

How would Question 2 benefit our students?

Closing the middle school pools would save annual projected maintenance costs and allow the District to repurpose the space for other student-centered needs.

Building a pool on already existing land at Century will allow the Century boys and girls swim and dive teams to stay on-site for their training and allow expanded athletic training/rehab options for all sports at Century. 

Question 2 also supports a remodel of the Mayo High School pool. Currently, the diving well at Mayo High School is too shallow and does not meet the Minnesota Department of Health depth regulations for competitive diving. Question 2 would allow for the deepening of the Mayo High School pool to achieve regulatory depth compliance. The Mayo High School teams would also be able to stay on-site for their training if the Mayo pool met depth compliance and safety standards. 

Can the District rent pool space elsewhere in Rochester?

The Rochester Recreation Center pool is at its capacity for usage, therefore this is not an option for the high school teams for practice and/or events.

If the middle school pools closed, would middle schools keep swimming as part of their PE curriculum?

This is possible. RPS would need to bus  students to the high schools, but this cost would be lower than the costs to operate and upgrade the current middle school pool facilities.

Can you explain how my property taxes support the school district?

This brief video helps explain how property taxes support the school district.