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Consolidation legislation introduced in House, Senate with bipartisan support

MORRIS - Special legislation that would allow the Cyrus School District to bond for the costs of their operating debt and the cost of demolishing the Cyrus school building has been introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate and sent to the necessary committees, Superintendent Scott Monson told the Morris Area School Board on Tuesday.

House File 113, co-authored by Reps. Jay McNamar, Paul Anderson and Paul Marquart was introduced on Jan. 17, 2013 and referred to the House Education Finance committee for further review.

The companion bill, Senate File 0062 is co-authored by Sens. Torrey Westrom, Lyle Koenen, and LeRoy Stumpf, was introduced on Jan. 22 and sent to the Senate Finance committee.

"There are very strong authors on both of those bills," said Monson. The bills also have bipartisan support which is "always helpful, I think," said Monson.

The bills, as written, allow the Cyrus School District to bond for an amount approved by the Commissioner of Education for costs associated with demolishing the building and covering their existing operating debt at the time of consolidation. The demolition bond would need to be repaid within 10 years, while the operating debt bond would need to be repaid within six years. Both bonds would be repaid by taxpayers in the current Cyrus School District.

Monson said that if the bill is kept separate from the larger K-12 education omnibus bill, the district could know the outcome much sooner.

The consolidation plat was submitted to the Pope County Auditor on Friday, Jan. 4. The auditor will need to draw up a consolidation map and then submit the plat to the Commissioner of Education.