Voting on the Designing Pathways referendum is coming up, with early voting beginning March 29, according to the referendum website.
The election is a one-question referendum that will allow Eden Prairie voters to approve or reject issuing $39.9 million in bonds for Designing Pathways, a 10-year learning and security plan for the district's schools that's been in the works for three years.
Conversations about Designing Pathways began in 2016, when the Eden Prairie School district started to create goals for its next decade of education. The goals include making more flexible learning environments for students of all ages, moving students to age-appropriate campuses and increasing security and safety measures in all eight schools, according to the referendum's website. Some specific changes include:
- Moving sixth graders to Central Middle School from their current location in elementary schools;
- Building additional classroom, cafeteria, gym and parking space at CMS to accommodate sixth graders;
- Building a new performing arts center at CMS;
- Moving preschoolers into the elementary schools;
- And redesigning classrooms in all schools to support flexible and individual learning, including new furniture and lighting.
If the measure is approved, school officials have told Eden Prairie News that construction could be completed by the start of the 2021 school year.
WHERE AND WHEN CAN YOU VOTE?
Early voting will be available for the referendum. Voters can do so in person between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting Friday, March 29, at the Eden Prairie Schools’ Administrative Services Center at 8100 School Road, according to the referendum's website. An election official will secure completed ballots until May 14, according to the referendum website.
Extended in-person early voting hours will also available on the following days:
- Saturday, May 4 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Thursday, May 9, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Monday, May 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Voters can send in early ballots by mail beginning March 29, according to the referendum website. To do so, voters must request a ballot by mail, which will include instructions on how to vote by mail. Voters can request a vote-by-mail ballot online at www.mnvotes.org. Absentee ballots must be received by 3 p.m., May 14.
Voting will go from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 14 at four polling locations in Eden Prairie. Voters' polling locations may be different in this election than in previous ones; you can find your polling location at www.mnvotes.org or call 952-975-7072.
The four polling locations for the Designing Pathways referendum are:
- Immanuel Lutheran Church, 16515 Luther Way
- St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 13600 Technology Drive
- Prairie Lutheran Church, 11000 Blossom Road
- Grace Church, 9301 Eden Prairie Road
HOW CAN YOU LEARN MORE?
Eden Prairie Schools will have an information session about the Designing Pathways referendum at 6 p.m. on April 9 at the Performing Arts Center at Eden Prairie High School, according to a news release from Eden Prairie Schools.
The information session is open to all, but for those who can't attend, there are several other ways to learn more and ask questions:
- Superintendent Josh Swanson held a March 18 webinar, which is available to watch free online at https://bit.ly/2TBTtey.
- Voters can call 952-975-2498 to leave a message with questions about the referendum and Designing Pathways and receive a call back with answers in under 48 hours, the message says.
- Voters can email their questions to EPVote2019@edenpr.org or visit EPVote2019.org to view a sample ballot, see predicted tax impacts and learn more about the projects bundled under the Designing Pathways project.
- Readers can look to Eden Prairie News' coverage of Designing Pathways to learn how the process has unfolded since 2016 at https://bit.ly/2HJ1SLJ.