The Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Board of Directors unanimously supports the 2023 Mankato Area Public Schools bond referendum.
Greater Mankato Growth Advocacy Process
This endorsement is the result of a deliberate and collaborative advocacy process. The Greater Mankato Growth Advocacy Committee, made up of 18 members representing a wide variety of private industry sector businesses as well as public and non-profit organizations, reviewed the bond referendum proposal during a presentation by District staff and school board members. The committee made a recommendation to the GMG Board of Directors to support the bond referendum. The GMG Board of Directors further reviewed the referendum proposal, following a presentation by District staff, and voted unanimously to support both questions for the November 7 referendum vote.
Following our adopted practice and organizational precedent, the Board of Directors and GMG Advocacy Committee considered four questions in their review to determine how and if Greater Mankato Growth should weigh in on this issue:
1. Is this issue consistent with the mission and vision of Greater Mankato Growth?
Members of the Board of Directors and the Advocacy Committee agreed that the public school system is a critical element in economic development and overall growth and vitality of our members and the regional marketplace.
2. Is GMG’s action worth the effort and resources?
The long-term return on investment will provide value to our members, driving economic growth and providing an adequate and trained workforce.
3. Is the issue generally nonpartisan?
Bond referendums are nonpartisan. Previous bond referendums have enjoyed broad support from voters in Greater Mankato. MAPS has put forward a set of projects that support the current needs of the community in a prudent manner.
4. Does the issue align with existing community visioning documents and/or strategic plans (i.e. Envision 2020)?
The bond referendum aligns with the goal of the Envision 2020 plan to “retain and attract an educated workforce.” Additionally, one of the five key pillars in the Greater Mankato 2040 draft plan is to create a “human talent hub.”
Questions to Voters
On November 7, the Mankato Area Public Schools will ask voters to consider a bond referendum. The proposal calls for consideration of two questions, totaling $120 million.
The first question for voters to consider is a $105 million request, with a focus on safety, security, early learning access, and wellness spaces. The physical security across ten sites throughout the district would be improved, along with enhancements to the technology and cybersecurity infrastructure of the entire district. Additional classroom and support spaces would be completed at the new MAPS Center for Learning. Eagle Lake Elementary would see expanded early learning spaces to include preschool and birth-to-school age all-day childcare. Further, the pool at Mankato West High School would be repurposed to expand academic, fine arts, and athletic spaces. Lastly, a new competition and community pool would be constructed at Dakota Meadows Middle School.
The second question for voters to consider is $15 million to update and expand the co-curricular stadiums at Mankato East and West High Schools for school, youth recreation, and community use. This includes artificial turf on the competition fields at both East and West.
The construction timeline for projects would begin in the spring of 2024 with entrance security upgrades at several sites.
Mankato Area Public Schools has a history of engaging with many stakeholders in its financial planning process. This deliberate engagement with business leaders is good evidence of a transparent and collaborative process to ensure that the use of public tax dollars is done so in a sensible manner with broad support. As such, the district’s current debt level (on an average home value of $250,000) is $261 per year which compares favorably to the state average of $304 per year and $268 per year in the Big 9 conference. The overall tax rate is similarly situated at $887 per year, compared to the state average of $962 per year and $968 per year in the Big 9 conference. The annual tax impact for both bond questions would be an estimated $151 for a home valued at $250,000 (roughly the average priced home in the district).
Information about the referendum can be found here.
Click here for voting information.
Questions about the Greater Mankato Growth Advocacy Process should be directed to Andy Wilke, Executive Vice President at Greater Mankato Growth.