Facing growing enrollment, security needs and the desire for upgrades at athletic facilities districtwide, the St. Michael-Albertville School District has set a Feb. 7 date for a single-item, yes or no vote on a $36.1 million bond levy.
Early voting for this special election has already opened, and ballot may be requested by either St. Michael or Albertville at the STMA school district office. Residents who live in surrounding communities (Otsego, Hanover) but are within the STMA School District lines may also request ballots at this time.
More early voting information can be found via the Secretary of State’s website.
About the bond
For those not familiar, the STMA district has broken down the list of bond items into four main categories: Safety, Technology, Maintenance and Activities, or S.T.M.A., to give an easy way to describe the bond to voters. A little over half of the allocated dollars would be to upgrade facilities, many athletic, including a sports ‘bubble’ (or dome) facility for several sports and class activities and the creation of a second sheet of ice at the STMA arena.
But the bond also allocates money for classroom space at the two busiest district locations – the Albertville Primary School and STMA High School. Both populations have grown exponentially over the past decade.
The last time STMA reached out to voters for a bond levy – typically utilized to fund building improvements – was nearly a decade ago. The district bonded to build the current high school and both Fieldstone and Big Woods elementary schools in the 2000s.
Proponents of the bond state the money is needed to bring the growing district into current times, fulfilling security needs and additional activity space for a district that sees more than 60 percent of middle and high school students take part in at least one high school sport or activity.
Those against the bond are stating the district needs to live within its means and utilize current space, adding the district is stretching local taxpayers too thin in a state educational funding system that is, in its present form, broken.