by Mike Knaak
Money to renovate the 50-year-old Apollo High School won’t be on the ballot this fall.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, now is not the time to propose a referendum, St. Cloud school Superintendent Willie Jett said at the July 15 school board meeting.
Instead of working on a plan for Apollo remodeling, he said “our focus must be on the quality of instruction and health and safety of staff and students” and how to safely return to school in September.
He said the district also needs to take fiscal needs into account when asking taxpayers for more money.
Jett said in discussions with community and business leaders as well as the community in general, people agreed that the Apollo upgrade is necessary but that now is not the time to move ahead.
An “overwhelming” number of people, as high as 95 percent, said “not now,” according to Jett.
In 2016, a referendum to build a new Tech High School was paired with money for remodeling Apollo. Voters narrowly approved spending more than $100 million for Tech but defeated the plan to spend $38.75 million for Apollo.
“We will be bringing the referendum forward in the future when it makes sense,” Jett said.
Board chair Jeff Pollreis said the district needs to be “comfortable” with putting forward a referendum and to continually evaluate schools and the economy.
“We will be bringing a referendum in the future,” Pollreis said. “That’s a fact. It’s imperative for our community.”