ROCHESTER, Minn. - Election Day is just four days away, and Rochester parent Angela Gupta has her mind made up about how she is voting. She is voting "no" to Rochester Public School's referendum.
Part of RPS's two question bond referendum is building a new elementary school and a new middle school. RPS's current elementary schools are at 98% capacity, and its middle schools are at 99% capacity. Click here to learn more about the referendum.
Gupta has an elementary aged child and a middle school aged child in the Rochester district. "I absolutely agree that Rochester Public Schools are overcrowded and the projections for growth are real and we're going to grow more and we need to accommodate all of that. Where I disagree with RPS on the referendum is frankly I don't they asked for enough," she explains.
Gupta feels the current bond referendum is not the most effective long-term solution to accomodate Rochester's growth. She isn't concerned about her property taxes. In fact, she's willing to spend more on a different plan and believes there are other residents who feel the same. "The only choice before us that they've offered are more big schools and they don't know if we're willing to pay for a different outcome because they didn't ask in the winter survey."
She favors more small schools, smaller classes, shorter bus routes, and more options such as late start or year-round schools at the middle school level, for example. She feels RPS has not listened to the community's input when planning the referendum. Gupta is hoping the referendum doesn't pass and RPS will draw up a "creative" solution to present to voters.
"It's not that I don't want to support them. I want to support them in the most positive way and this just isn't it," she says. "I want to put us in the best situation for our students and our future and this is not it."