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Dear Carlton School District Community,

The date of our special election is quickly approaching. On behalf of the Carlton School Board, we strongly encourage all voters to take the time to be fully informed and please vote by Aug. 8.

We are working diligently to be sure that voters have many ways to be informed, get the facts, express your thoughts and have your questions answered by school board members or myself. This election is about public education, community, the future, Carlton's current and future students, and yes, property taxes.

South Terrace Elementary School was built in 1961. Sections of Carlton High School were built in 1915, 1953 and 1969. No major high school classroom upgrades have been completed since. Neither of our buildings meets ADA requirements or has sprinklers, and the high school has no secure entrances.

It would cost nearly as much to renovate the existing high school as it does to add on to the elementary, and renovation would not address many space and design issues (repair costs exceed 60 percent of replacement). The locker rooms, science labs, infrastructure and more are in poor condition.

However, none of these facility challenges lessen the critical role the school district plays in the lives of students, families and the community. All students and staff deserve school buildings that are efficient, effective and inspiring.

The school district is committed to making sure we have done all that we can to give you facts, information, answer your questions and hear your concerns. Please visit our website, www.embracingourfuture-Carlton.org, for project information, including Frequently Asked Questions, and a link to a tax calculator so you can see what the tax impact for Question 1 and Question 2 would be for you.

Additionally, we are continuing to have public informational meetings. There will be meetings at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday, July 24, at South Terrace. Meetings will also be held Saturday, July 29, at 1 p.m. at South Terrace and 4 p.m. at the high school. I highly encourage you to attend to receive information and have your questions answered. Overwhelmingly, when people leave these meetings, they are not only telling us they are glad they came but also they feel more informed, heard and have a greater understanding of the facts that brought us to this point.

This is a very important time for the Carlton School District, our students and all of the communities that are part of our district. Please take the time to get informed and vote. You can vote at the courthouse through Aug. 7 (including Saturday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). On Aug. 8, the only polling site will be the Carlton County Transportation Building (in Olsonville) from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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