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Hudson School Board Votes to Purchase St. Croix Meadows Dog Track for $8.25 Million

The Hudson School District Board of Education voted at a special meeting Monday to make an offer to purchase the long-vacant St. Croix Meadows Dog Track property. The district hopes to use the site for a new school building in the future.

At a special meeting Monday evening held at , the Board of Education voted unanimously to make an offer to purchase .

According to the commercial purchase agreement, the district will offer $8.25 million for the property. The district hopes to use the site for a new school building in the future. The entire deal is contingent upon the district securing the needed revenue through an upcoming referendum.

Before the vote was taken, Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten put forth the case for a new school building by citing . Currently, is already nearly 170 students above capacity. is only 45 students below capacity right now, and projected to reach capacity next year. The projections show additional significant growth for both schools over the next 10 years.

Financial Services Director Tim Erickson took his turn next laying out the case on .

Erickson also detailed the estimated tax impact to district residents. According to Erickson, the $8.25 million price tag translates to a $18-$20 per year tax impact on a home assessed at $200,000.

The board will decide at its November meeting whether to hold the referendum during the February primary election or the April general election.

According to Erickson, the district also explored purchasing property in the St. Croix Business Park and the site of Hermes Floral just off Highway 12. The district's number show that St. Croix Meadows offered the lowest price per acre of the three choices.

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Shannon October 04, 2011 at 11:25 PM
Thank goodness this School Board is looking after the ever growing student population in Hudson. The elementary school my child attends has five first grade classrooms this year. The number of students is increasing. Something has to be done.
kk October 05, 2011 at 01:02 AM
I can't understand. This area has voted for and demanded less government but yet you are arguing for more taxes against everyones basic need shelter. You are demanding that you are more important and everyone else has to pay for your wants. This area follows the bachmann idea knutson/harsdorf/skooter if it is for ME it is good make the slaves pay for it. If you follow bachmann all schools should be privately owned and operated. It is the only thing I would ever agree with her. Pay to play or stand up and say you support the Democrats that all people are supported fairly and receive fairly or go away. Not ME ME ME!
kk October 05, 2011 at 01:03 AM
Sorry Mike!
Frazzle October 05, 2011 at 01:42 AM
Seriously kk can you get the spelling right. It is Knudson with a "d". And the city will be hurt. The dog tracks are part of the City. The property on UU is not. So becsuse the school board wants city sewage those city residents are going to be taxed more than reported. So far the tax increase is only on the land not on tearing down the current building and building new. Why don't they expand on the current high school? There is from there and it would be less money. As a tax payer of the City 90,000 will be lost tpt the tax base and that will effect services given to the city. So we lose 90,000 and then pay more in taxes to build a brand new school. I want to see more space too so i ask again why not add on? Act 10 puts a cap on property tax increase so if the city can't raise taxes and with property values going down, and now the possibility of a bug loss to our tax base I fear there will be serious cuts made at a city level. Funny the school board keeps spending and the City is cutting. Thankful someone is thinking about our pocket books!
Hudsoner October 05, 2011 at 02:06 AM
I just wonder... The voters here decided that it was Ok that Walker/Harsdorf reduced school funding. As a result of this, the teachers got a new health care plan that is much worse than their previous plan. I know of several teachers that want to leave the district as soon as possible, I also know from the school of education that many of their students (anecdotal evidence) do not plan to teach in Wisconsin. It could well be that a new school is not needed, because there may not be enough teachers around to teach in such a school. Hudson and Wisconsin created a very hostile environment for educators, calling them thugs etc., and who would want to work in such an environment?
gilligan October 05, 2011 at 02:20 AM
Ask the district office how many applications were received for job openings...it's probably several hundred/opening. If WI graduates want to move to other states to teach, let them; grads from out-of-state colleges will come to WI for a job. A job is a job...college grads are more concerned with a paycheck.
William Welbes October 05, 2011 at 02:36 AM
The 10 percent cap on real estate is total fiction. All the city has to do is increase the mill rate and add on special assessments. Minnesota already has gone through this whole scenario and the recent budget cuts will be passed on through the tax structure by raising the mil rate and adding assessments for storm sewers, street lighting, street maintenance surcharges, alley services and dozens of other fees that used to be covered under your taxes. Our property taxes in minnesota have more than tripled in the last six years and walker is playing from the pawlenty rule book.
William Welbes October 05, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Nonsense they will go the way of St paul and most other minnesota communities to part time teachers. Saint Paul now uses over 40% part time teachers to fill in on classes. So most students now have three or four teachers for thier class versus one dedicated to the class. Wonder why minnesota is working so hard to get waivers on the no child left behind program. Thank you walker.
William Welbes October 05, 2011 at 02:41 AM
They will most likely need every application they get. Last I heard teacher retirements were running two to three times the normal annual rate for this year and were expected to accelerate next year.
MrsPeel October 05, 2011 at 03:57 AM
There is only one current member of the School Board was was involved in the purchase of the property on UU. Also,the current Superintendent was not involved in that purchase. What does "clones" mean?
Frazzle October 05, 2011 at 02:23 PM
The unemployment rate is outrageous. Let them retire I am more than certain there are plenty of graduates out there looking for work. For every one teacher that leaves there are at minimum 2 waiting for that job!
William Welbes October 05, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Unfortunately most of those unemployed are not qualified to teach, and many of those that do have the qualifications are too old to start off at the entry level salaries paid to teachers. I think the city is going to find the teacher pool is much smaller that you seem to think.
mainstreet October 05, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Teachers are a dime a dozen. That's why the pay is so low. It's called supply and demand. That's also the reason they needed a union to boost wages, because there are so many of them. Think about it. When you were in college where did all the people who flunked out of the harder curriculums end up? Teaching. I'll bet only 25% of the teaching graduates started out in the field. The rest settled there in order to keep the 4 year party going.
All right October 05, 2011 at 04:44 PM
How many of you here blogging have lived in Hudson your entire life and went through the school district? Then off to college and back to Hudson? I've been here for 44 years and watched this town grow into a city. I remember when the dog track was shoved down our throats. I've watched school referrendums held during non-election times in order to get all the school 'clones' there with the hope of most people not showing up. I received a good education through the Hudson School District and my children have too. And not once did my kids come home saying the school was ugly or overcrowded. They adapted to their surroundings, and as a result they are striving in their respected fields. I agree that at some point Hudson will need a new HS, but given the state of the economy now is NOT the time to be buying land. I don't care what a great deal you think you are getting, or what the rates are. Mortgage rates are at an all-time low and housing is still in the tank. Why is that? If rates are great and affordability is high, why are people not buying? Because people may have learned a tough lesson buy getting in over their heads. And now is the time to show your constituants that you are living like the rest of us should be; within our means.
Jim Bob October 05, 2011 at 05:36 PM
AllRight...I graduated from the old HHS. It used to smell like a stinky shoe all winter, when they fired up the furnance. With 30-40 kids an an English or math class, I guess it was crowded. It took multitple tries to get the bond passed to build the current high school. I think the class of 1974 was the first to graduate from there. Now the new high school is an old high school. The new high school has now been around almost as long as the old high was when I got my walking papers. The dog track seems to be a good location for a high school. School districts are charged with planning for the future. buying the property in a down market may be a good idea when things pickup. Regardless of whether or not the taxpayers want to pay for a new high school, it is up to the school district and school board to plan for the future. Likeiwse, it is up to the taxpayers to decide what gets built in the future. Those are two separate functions. Also, could you define what you mean by "living within our means." Does that mean we are debt free? Have enough assets to cover what we own?
Dan BV October 05, 2011 at 09:03 PM
No, actually. That's not my experience at all. And I actually know more people who couldn't hack the education curriculum than any other, including the so called "hard ones." And I know tons of "hard one" graduates too, and 95% of them wouldn't last 2 days in a classroom. with another 4% lasting a week. But, hey dude - thanks for asking me to "think about it."
The Professor October 06, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Interesting comments Mr. Nelson, coming from someone who lives in New Richmond. Maybe you should tell the good people of Hudson how that $93 Million referendum is working for you. New Richmond has the highest percentage of people in foreclosure in all of St. Croix County. In fact I heard from a very reliable source that you have an entire neighborhood in foreclosure. Now that's what I call taxing yourself into prosperity!
Jim Bob October 06, 2011 at 03:15 AM
Funny you should ask. At the annual school district meeting, we voted to reduce the budget by 2.5 percent. This should result in a small tax increase. My property taxes were down two years ago and went up a bit last year. We are definitely seeing taxes climb hundreds of dollars a year like the local, anti-education borderliners were telling us on their local blog and in letters to the editor. They were also predicting people fleeing from the district because of these mythical exploding taxes. Fact is the 2011-2012 kindergarten class is a record high. It broke the record set by the 2010-2011 kindergarten class which broke the record set by the 2009-2010 K class. The fact is the NR district probably passed it's referendum at the right time. The referendum was based on bids when building was booming. The actual bids were done when the building sector was hurting for work. On top of the low bids, the were federal government stimulus programs that pay the interest on the building debt. As far as neighborhoods in foreclosure, I would agree that many houses are empty with for sale or rent signs in the high grass yards. There are many building lots in NR -- around 800. Not much building happening. Not much property tax increases happening. Lots of state of the art educational facilities for families thinking about their kids and getting them prepared for the future. Pretty cool...thanks for asking.
The Professor October 06, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Funny you say that taxes haven't gone up much. I hear they have escalated quite a bit. Perhaps you are an anomaly, which wouldn't surprise me.... I've never seen a town go bankrupt when a private business expands, but you can't say the same when a local school district decides to spend like drunken sailors. New Richmond has the worst real estate market in the county. New Richmond has the highest percentage of bankruptcies in the county. New Richmond has the highest percentage of foreclosures in the county. I don't think we're going to let our school board do the same thing to Hudson. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Jim Bob October 06, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Professor, not sure where you are getting your hearsay about taxes. Keep in mind that the $93 million school project is in the New Richmond School district. I live in Richmond Township and likely have a different tax impact than residence of the city. I'm speaking about my tax bill. I don't think the city of NR's bankruptcy problem stems from the schools. The city of NR is alomost maxed out in its borrowing capacity. That's a different issues than the school district. They are separate government entities. The tax impact on city residence is likely the result of spending by the city government. We are not experiencing the in the township. As I pointed out above, it is the school idstrict's charter to plan for the future. It is the voters' decision to determine what that future looks like via the referendum process. If the voters choose not to go with the dog track, that is the way it goes. The voters in the NR district voted for the $93 million referendum and I have not seen a significant increase in my property tax bill since the project started.
The Professor October 06, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Well I stand corrected Mr. Nelson. Thank you for setting the record straight. Your school board members must be smarter than I thought. Just imagine borrowing $93 Million with no tax increase! Heck they should have borrowed $200 Million at that rate! And I just know that the poor children of Hudson are going to be totally out performed by the kids in New Richmond now that you have such glorious facilities. Did you get new, more qualified teachers with the upgraded facilites or do you have the same people teaching in a newer building? Just curious....
Jim Bob October 06, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Professor, I'm guessing from your bitterness and invective, that no one teaching in public schools are qualified. I believe 18 teachers quit or retired at the end of the 2010-2011 school year and another 25 were hired. The majority of them to mean the expanding demand in the lower grades. It's cerainly a positive point that you throw out about the competition between districts. Isn't it exciting that schools in western Wisconsin are meeting such high standards of achievement. I think, if the NR district had borrowed $200 million, I would have definately seen my taxes increase. Frotunately, the administration, school board and voters in the district are conservative minded and keep the pocketbooks of us taxpayers in mind. Hey, it life is too tough in Hudson, you can always move to NR. There are excellent buys on houses and the schools are great. Say "Howdy!" to MaryAnn and Ginger for me.
The Professor October 06, 2011 at 05:18 PM
So your taxes stayed the same at $93 Million but would have gone up at $200 Million? Sounds like some funny everyday math to me. I never said there weren't competent teachers in Hudson. My point is that a new building doesn't make for a better education and I challenge you to prove that it does. And don't get to worked up about the high standards of achievement in western Wisconsin. Unless every student takes the ACT then any comparison that you make has definite flaws.
Jim Bob October 06, 2011 at 08:50 PM
I didn't say my taxes stayed the same. I said they went down one year, up the next and will likely take another dip. Of course new buildings don't make for a better education. I just the school district couldn't find an old building to move into the district to use for schools. I went to the old HHS school and I grew up to be a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen. Since our free-market economy is creating all these service jobs that don't require much education, I suppose we only need pencils and a slate board to instill the needed knowledge to survive. Aparently, you and I don't share the same level of bitterness towards the public education system. It worked for me. Sorry that it didn't work out for you. You know how it goes, out of the millions of kids they run throw the public school system, they all aren't going to turn out to be Steve Jobs or George Bush or Ayn Rand. Most of them are going to be taxpaying, law abiding citizens. Perhaps you are of the religious believe where they keep coming back in the next life till they get it right. Just remember, whatever your faith or believe, Jesus loves you.
The Professor October 06, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Mr. Nelson please stop putting words in my mouth. That is not a very productive way to present your point of view in a debate. A debate which you happen to be losing, which is why you resort to such behavior. Better luck next time my friend!
Jim Bob October 07, 2011 at 06:40 AM
I didn't know we were having a debate. I was discussing it's the job of a school board and school administration to chart the future course of a school district and how it is up to the voters via the referendum process to approve or turn down said proposed future vision. There really isn't much to debate there. That is how the process works. As to how my property tax bills have been impacted by the $93 million school referendum in the New Richmond school district, there's no debate there. As to whether or not a student learns better in a new school, that would depend on the student. Some could get the education in a pup tent and do great things. Others could be individually tutored in the Taj Mahal and end up a peanut vendor in North Hudson. Let's face it Professor, we are moving towards an education system where more and more of a child's education will take place in public spears. Karl Marx pointed this out long ago when he said, "“The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother's care, shall be in state institutions.” I can envision a time in the near future where schools will have pre-natal classrooms for pregnant mothers to come in to sit on their prayer rugs and listen to tapes of Frances Fox Piven reading from the qu'ran in Spanish. We all know that to achieve, we need thought. That is what public education provides. It's not the size of the building, it's the heart of the community. Remember, it takes a village.
Thurston Howell III October 07, 2011 at 03:06 PM
mr... Oh I love this one."Why don't they expand on the current high school?" Do you realize that Dean Knudson's proposal for this circa 2005 would involve invoking Eminent Domain over adjacent homeowner's properties. I just love it when you Anti-Government types contradict yourselves. It's sooo entertaining.
mainstreet October 07, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Why would ED be needed? Expand to the south, there is nothing there but a field. Also if they would revoke parking for all the students that drive to school without a reason and make them ride the bus, you could reduce the parking lot by half.
Mary Harris October 07, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Dear Mainstreet, where I went to college those who couldn't handle the hard curriculum ended up in the business department. Maybe college life has changes, but I didn't notice any heavier degree emphasis at the parties I went to. Not sure what you hate teachers so much...with them being a dime a dozen and their pay so low and all. Perhaps you flunked out of the education program and ended up in a business program.
kk October 07, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Guys and Gals I am stepping in and asking you to stop being personal but stay with the good and bad of this. Hudson has the history of less government /taxes. We all know that borrowed money is separate from general budget and tax levied. So the only question for hudson school residents is are you will to pay more for--------? I offer yes to a point then you pay to play or elect in the upcoming recall a representative that is progressive.

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