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Greater Mankato Growth Endorses Mankato Area Public Schools’ 2013 Bond Referendum
Marks First Issue Considered Under New Public Affairs Structure
Mankato, MINN (October 4, 2013) – Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. is offering its endorsement to the Mankato Area Public Schools’ November 5, 2013 facilities bond referendum.
“Our members recognize that our community’s school system is a key asset in economic development and a vital impetus to the overall growth and vitality of Greater Mankato. Passage of this referendum will enable our children to continue learning in quality educational facilities and will also assist our community in its efforts to produce, retain and attract the talented workforce necessary for the future success of businesses in our region,” said Greater Mankato Growth President and CEO Jonathan Zierdt.
This endorsement also represents the first official action Greater Mankato Growth has taken on a policy matter using its new public affairs structure. Following a presentation by Superintendent Sheri Allen on the bond referendum and careful deliberation, Greater Mankato Growth’s Education Policy Team and Business Policy Team voted unanimously to recommend endorsement of the bond referendum. The endorsement recommendation was then considered and unanimously approved by Greater Mankato Growth’s Public Affairs Steering Committee as well as the Board of Directors. Greater Mankato Growth’s members were also invited to comment on the endorsement request. More information about Greater Mankato Growth’s public affairs structure is available at: greatermankato.com/public-affairs-volunteers
In evaluating the school bond referendum, Greater Mankato Growth considered a number of criteria summarized below. Get full details on these criteria by viewing our full endorsement fact sheet at: greatermankato.com/sites/default/files/images/GMG%20Mankato%20School%20Bond%20Endorsement.pdf
Alignment with GMG’s Advocacy Criteria
To determine whether to lend its organizational support, Greater Mankato Growth evaluated the bond referendum using its four-part guideline that considers: 1) if the issue is consistent with Greater Mankato Growth’s mission; 2) if the action is worth the effort and resources; 3) if the issue is generally nonpartisan in nature; and 4) if the issue aligns with existing community visioning documents and strategic plans.
Enrollment in the Mankato Area Public Schools is on the rise. Since 2007, enrollment is up by 530 students and by 2017 an additional 757 students are expected to enroll. To accommodate these additional students and to ensure that our community has the educational facilities necessary to produce a talented workforce prepared for careers or college, additional space and renovations will be required.
While no individual or business likes to pay additional taxes, the Mankato Area Public Schools have an excellent track record of stewardship when it comes to investing our tax dollars wisely. The District’s current and projected facility debt as a ratio to the value of the overall value of their buildings and as a ratio to the state’s statutory debt limit for the District are well within the range of a financially responsible debt load. The District’s debt situation compares favorably with the rest of the state as well with the District’s yearly debt service of $716 per pupil standing 44% below the state average of $1,275. Additionally, the “net” impact of additional taxation that property owners will face may be reduced due to the recent expiration of the Dakota Meadows Middle School bond. “Based on Mankato Area Public Schools’ past performance, the citizens of Greater Mankato can be reasonably assured that any new funding they provide will be managed in the same fiscally responsible way that allowed the district to leverage its dollars in the past, ensuring a return on our educational investment dollars in the future,” said Zierdt.
“Greater Mankato Growth is focused on promoting the economic growth and vitality of our regional marketplace through effective community and business development initiatives. The bond referendum is one such community initiative,” said Zierdt. “Our community’s commitment to the strength of our educational system is a tremendous asset as we position Greater Mankato as a great place to operate your business or raise your family.”
About Greater Mankato Growth
Greater Mankato Growth (GMG) is committed to advancing business for a stronger community. As the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization serving the regional marketplace, GMG advances business through: existing business support, new business growth, business promotion, talent development, public affairs, community marketing, visitor attraction and servicing and civic engagement. Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. also includes two LLCs: Visit Mankato, which focuses on visitor attraction and servicing, and the City Center Partnership, LLC, which focuses on development in the City Center.