ZUMBROTA — The Zumbrota-Mazeppa School Board voted Monday to submit three questions to the state for review and comment for their upcoming referendum.

The board unanimously voted to submit the following amounts:

  • Question 1: $39 million.

  • Question 2: $3.6 million.

  • Question 3: $5 million.

Once the board submits these amounts and they are approved by the state, the amounts can be reduced but not increased.

Superintendent Michael Harvey told the board that trusting the results of a recent community survey is paramount to the success of any referendum. The board met Aug. 7 to discuss the survey results, and on Monday discussed the top comments made by the 824 people who responded to the survey.

The top five comments:

  1. Respondents want to keep all district schools open.

  2. Respondents understand that an investment is needed to update the schools.

  3. Respondents do not believe that now is the time to update athletic facilities.

  4. Respondents are concerned about additional taxes.

  5. Improving school security is an important focus.

Separating academics from athletics was important to the community, Harvey said.

With that in mind, Question 1 would focus on classroom and facility improvements at all sites.

Question 2 centers on a new auxiliary gymnasium in Mazeppa, with the old gymnasium becoming a cafeteria.

Question 3 focuses on a new auxiliary gymnasium at the high school, a varsity baseball, soccer and football field upgrade, and modifying the existing stadium for track and field competition.

The survey was clear, Harvey said. The community wants a reduced cost on the referendum and they want to stay informed.

The top two reasons cited for why respondents rejected a $49.95 million referendum in May were that the referendum was too expensive and that they lacked trust in the district’s planning process.

Most respondents said they were informed about the referendum based on school mailings. Harvey said the board will need to continue to engage the public in the planning process.

A special school board meeting to address the three referendum questions will be 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Zumbrota-Mazeppa Middle/High School.

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