GMG Endorses School Operating Referendum

PA LogoDear Member:

As you have likely heard, the Mankato Area Public Schools are asking voters this November 7 to approve a referendum that will renew, and increase, an expiring operating levy. This proposal would call for increasing the District’s operating levy by $365 per student, from $784 to $1,149.

As the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Organization serving the region, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. (GMG) is focused on promoting the economic growth and vitality of our regional marketplace through effective community and business development initiatives. After careful consideration, GMG has decided to actively endorse the Mankato Area Public School’s proposed operating referendum. I wanted to notify you of this action before it went public and provide you with a summary of the process and rationale the organization considered in making the decision that the school’s proposed operating referendum is essential to the continued economic vitality of Greater Mankato.

This endorsement was considered through GMG’s Public Affairs Policy Process which included extensive review of the proposal by GMG’s Public Affairs Steering Committee and a unanimous vote by the organization’s Board of Directors. You can get more information about our public affairs policy process here.

In evaluating the school’s proposed operating referendum, GMG considered a number of criteria summarized below. I encourage you to view our endorsement statement, which includes full details on these criteria.

Alignment with GMG’s Advocacy Criteria

To determine whether to lend its organizational support, GMG evaluated the bond referendum using its four-part guideline that considers: 1) if the issue is consistent with GMG’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.

Need

GMG found that the operating referendum is needed to help the community respond to three key challenges: 1) growth in school enrollment; 2) ensuring a quality workforce; and 3) a shortage in available talent.

Fiscal Responsibility

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. In our review of the school district’s proposal, GMG found that the school district offers high performance at low cost, has a comparatively low operating levy, and has taken advantage of other opportunities to save taxpayers money.

High-performing and competitive schools drive economic development, resulting in improvements for our workforce and overall economy. I hope you’ll agree that 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

Please remember to vote on November 7.

Thank you,

Jonathan Zierdt
President & CEO
Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

P.S. Remember that the Mankato Area Public Schools are also holding school board elections. Greater Mankato Growth has published online candidate profiles of all the candidates running. I encourage you to review this information so that you can cast an informed ballot.

Get Informed on the Proposed Referendum:
Join us for a complimentary lunch on Monday, October 30 at 12 pm to hear from Superintendent Sheri Allen and Director of Business Services, Tom Sager, as they provide information on the proposed referendum and answer your questions. Registration required.

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