Readers’ Views

Responsible Decisions for now and the Future for MCW

To the editor:

With less than one week until the school referendum vote is tallied, many have likely already made up their mind or even exercised their right to vote. But to those that still are studying the data…..if you think your vote does not matter, think again because IT DOES. Remember last November, the referendum failed with a difference of only 50 votes.

I have personally been committed to studying the data and facts to make decisions in the best interest of MCW; not only for the kids of today, but for the kids of tomorrow and for many years to come. These decisions are not taken lightly and while we all want the very best for our Mavericks, there is also a budget to maintain and balance.

While the ask of taxpayers on this ballot is not cheap, neither are any other options to address the facility needs for MCW. To instead ask taxpayers for an operating levy increase at this time, does not feel like a responsible or reasonable ask. These funds would in some cases cost taxpayers more and it would also not address any of the facility issues that our students and staff endure daily. Foul smells in the cafeteria while dining, discolored and non-potable water throughout the buildings, inadequate spaces that do not meet todays educational standards, and unsafe/nonsecure building entrances are just a few of the major concerns that would be addressed with this building referendum. It is also important to note that operating levy funds can not be used for building projects and vice versa. An operating levy is also NOT eligible for funds from the Ag2School tax credit.

I can respectfully agree that for some taxpayers, this ask may be a burden. We are all experiencing additional cost of living expenses, which leads me to believe that it is only going to get more expensive to wait. We can see that in just six months, the cost of this project has increased by approximately $1.7 million for a smaller sized building. There are many tax relief measures in place to help reduce the impact of the bond on residents including: a regular property tax refund, special residential property tax refund and the Ag2School tax credit. The Ag2School credit alone would mean that the state of MN will pay for 42.7 percent of the cost of the project, with no evidence that this is decreasing or going away.

Concerns about declining enrollment are valid. However, there is an obligation to provide a quality education in safe and secure spaces to whatever number of students we do have enrolled. Surrounding districts have made significant investments in their facilities and doing nothing to keep up with the competition surrounding us, we only risk a further decline in enrollment. The proposed plan is in line with Minnesota Department of Education guidelines for classroom size, as many of our current classrooms are undersized. Additionally, it expands the gym space and Career and Technical Education (CTE) areas, as well as adding breakout spaces. It is also a reduction of 27,055 square feet that the district has to heat, clean, and operate.

Reminder that the proposed plan also includes the necessary funds for demolishing the eye sore building that still sits empty in Welcome. With the current district budget, there are no funds available to take care of the demolition costs for this building.

Please consider the facts as you make your decision when you vote.

If you have further questions, please find information and/or reach out through any of the following avenues: District webpage: https://www.martin.k12.mn.us/, email: buildingproject@ mcwmavericks .org or call: (507) 764-2330.

Laura Borchardt



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