Schools in Goodhue and Pierce counties asked voters —sometimes more than once — for additional funding for their districts this year.
The Kenyon-Wanamingo, Spring Valley and Zumbrota-Mazeppa school districts spent months asking for funding to either build an entirely new or improve existing buildings or increase per pupil funding.
Two of the referendums passed: Spring Valley will get a new elementary school and Zumbrota-Mazeppa will renovate and add on to its buildings. Kenyon-Wanamingo will be going back to figure out a new plan as its referendum failed.
New elementary school coming to Spring Valley
Spring Valley elementary students have attended the school on Sabin Avenue since 1929. Beginning in 2021, that will change.
Voters approved a $22.8 million bond referendum in April for the construction of a new elementary school, 723-528.
The new school will be located near the middle/high school with the downtown location eventually being taken down and the land sold.
Superintendent Donald Haack said in an April story in the Republican Eagle that referendum planning began in 2017. The tax impact will be a $170 per year increase for a $100,000 property valuation, Haack said.
Construction is scheduled to start in 2020, with the building opening in 2021.
Z-M passes on second try
The Zumbrota-Mazeppa School District had to regroup after failing to pass a $49.95 million bond referendum in May.
It was successful in November, passing a revised $38.585 million bond referendum that will add, renovate and remodel all existing school sites, 1,203-1,065.
Communication was key, Superintendent Michael Harvey said in November to the Republican Eagle. The district sent out a community survey which found voters were supportive of renovating buildings over a new site.
There were three questions asked to voters, with the second and third failing. The other two questions were centered around building a new gymnasium at each site. The community survey showed voters were supportive of renovations, but weren’t supportive of adding new gymnasiums.
The school board will be meeting over the following months to get a clearer timeline on construction.
K-W fails to increase funding
The Kenyon-Wanamingo School District failed to revoke-and-replace its current operating levy in November, 515-378.
The district hoped to replace the current levy with a $460 per pupil amount, with a second question adding $300 more.
Former K-W Superintendent Jeff Pesta said in November that he was surprised by the first question not passing, adding that the plan was common sense driven.
The district will have to regroup over the coming months and put together a new plan for the operating levy. The district’s levy will expire in 2020. The district will also need to find a new superintendent. Pesta accepted a position as superintendent at Hastings Public Schools.