Though there are very few city, county, state or federal offices that will be up for grabs as part of the general elections on Tuesday, Nov. 2 — and none in Becker County — there are voters in three area school districts who will be going to the polls.
Though early voting has been available since Sept. 17, the fate of Lake Park-Audubon's proposed $23 million school construction project will ultimately be decided on Tuesday, along with a $51.6 million building project in Park Rapids and the special election of two Menahga School Board members. All three school districts include parts of Becker County.
Bulk of LP-A project is focused on Audubon elementary
Two questions are on the ballot for Lake Park-Audubon School District voters this year, with both of them related to a proposed $23 million school building project.
LP-A voters are being asked to decide on two referendum questions: One regarding $21.63 million in renovations and new construction at the elementary building in Audubon, and another about an additional $1.33 million in improvements to the Career and Technical Education and collaborative spaces at the high school in Lake Park. The passage of the second question is directly dependent on voter approval of the first.
Audubon improvements would provide more space, improve classrooms, and address deferred maintenance needs, while the high school project would provide more space for hands-on Career and Technical Education and collaborative small group areas.
Though the fate of the referendum won't be decided until the general election concludes on Tuesday, early voting opened Sept. 17 and is available through end of day on Monday, Nov. 1.
Early voting can be done in person at the high school, anytime between 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1.
For the general election, however, voting will shift to two different locations: The city offices in Audubon and Lake Park.
According to LP-A Superintendent Tim Godfrey, school board officials were informed by the state that they could not hold the general election vote at their school facilities.
"Last December, the LP-A Board of Education passed a resolution to establish combined polling places," Godfrey said. "At that time, they chose the city halls in both towns."
Unsure of where to vote in the special election? Here is a list of the townships assigned to each polling place.
Audubon City Hall: All Audubon city residents as well as those living in the townships of Audubon, Detroit and Lake Eunice in Becker County and Dunn Township in Otter Tail County will vote at City Hall, 347 4th St., Audubon.
Lake Park City Hall: All Lake Park city residents as well as those living in the townships of Lake Park, Atlanta, Cuba, Riceville and Cormorant in Becker County, along with Eglon and Highland Grove townships in Clay County, will vote at City Hall, 2032 2nd St, Lake Park.
Polls will be open at both locations from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Public information meetings on the project were held Sept. 22 and Oct. 6 at the elementary building in Audubon. During those meetings, LP-A administrators outlined the project and provided opportunities for questions from those in attendance. A detailed explanation of all aspects of the proposed project — need, scope, cost, etc. — was also made available at the website, lpapavetheway.com for those who wanted to learn more.
Other Becker County elections
Park Rapids: This will be the third go-around for Park Rapids voters to decide on a proposed building bond referendum. This single-question referendum seeks authorization to issue $51.65 million in building bonds for the purpose of financing facility improvements at the high school and Century (K-8) school, as well as demolition of the Frank White Education Center. The bulk of the project would encompass a 65,800-square-foot addition on the south side of the high school for a new gymnasium, classrooms for grades 7-9, administrative offices and meeting spaces, along with a smaller addition on the north side that would house art classrooms and alternative learning spaces. At the Century school, improvements would include two small classroom additions, along with renovations and site improvements. A new bus garage is also included in the proposed improvements. To vote early in person, visit the district office on Monday, Nov. 1 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day, Nov. 2, at three locations — the Frank White Education Center, Osage Community Center and Lake George Township Hall. More detailed information is available at the website, project309.org.
Menahga: Two new Menahga School Board members will be elected on Tuesday. One position is for one year, the other for three years. Helen Lehto filed for the three-year position. In January 2021, she was appointed to a one-year term that expires in January. No candidates filed for the one-year term, so a write-in is needed to determine who will fill this post; the vacancy was created when Durwin Tomperi resigned in December 2020 after being elected to the Menahga City Council in November. Polling for this special election will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. at two locations — the Wolf Lake Lions Hall and Menahga City Hall.