Voters will pick from five River Ridge School Board candidates in primary

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By Correne Martin

The River Ridge School District has a momentous primary election approaching. On Tuesday, Feb. 17, district voters will be asked to select two individuals from five who are running for two at-large school board seats. The top four vote-getters on Tuesday will seal their spot on the April 7 spring election ballot, from which two will be named the new board members.  

Primary candidates include newcomers Justin Campbell, Jason Drone, Emilie Mumm and Cory Raisbeck. Bob Mathre is the only incumbent whose name will appear on the ballot. Current school board member Bob Key is not running for re-election.

Primary builds up to second referendum
The motivation behind the five candidates running in the primary could be, in large part, due to the referendum that will also appear on the spring ballot.

On Jan. 21, the school board approved a resolution providing for a referendum election that will ask voters to approve the issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $9.9 million. Board members approving were Lea Breuer, Ken Nies, Bob Mathre, Bob Key and Kerri Schier. Those opposed were Dave Breuer and Randy Martin.

The potential funds would be used for updates to the district’s Patch Grove facility, which would include replacing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems; bringing the facility up to code for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and adding classrooms, a new gymnasium, and a secure entryway. If the referendum passes and these changes are made, one K-12 site could be created at the Patch Grove location as early as September 2015. Currently, the fifth and sixth graders attend classes at the Upper Elementary building in Bloomington.

According to board member Bob Key, if the spring referendum passes and all of the students, faculty and staff are brought together under one roof, the Bloomington facility would be used solely for sporting events. The gym, football field and track there would continue to be used for such purposes.

The spring election will be the second referendum for River Ridge in five months. In November, district voters ultimately denied a $13 million referendum (995 against, 556 in favor) that aimed to combine everyone at one facility, establish a new football field and track as well as additional parking at Patch Grove, and also construct an agricultural shop addition.

The first step toward the April 7 referendum for $9.9 million will be the Tuesday, Feb. 17 primary election. A high turnout is expected.

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