Not long ago, Mounds View Public Schools shared a common reality with many other metro school districts – declining enrollment. During that time, the District worked very hard to manage facilities and enrollment. According to a former state demographer, our schools were right-sized for a decade.
That reality has changed significantly.
Today, Mounds View is the 10th largest district in Minnesota, and we’re growing fast. Enrollment is at its highest level in 15 years, and about 1,600 more students are expected in the next seven years. All of our sites are fully occupied, and we’re rapidly running out of room in high schools, middle schools and elementary schools.
A quick tour of any school tells it all:
· Students often gather for small-group instruction in hallways, stairwells or lobbies because classrooms are full.
· Students have limited access to flexible learning spaces to collaborate, brainstorm, design and create.
· Cafeterias are packed with students at lunch.
At the same time, our schools are showing their wear and tear. The average age of school buildings is 57 years old, and the most recent additions occurred about 15 years ago.
In response to rising enrollment and aging facilities, a community facilities task force examined these issues. With support from District staff, the residents recommended adding space and improving infrastructure – at all schools. The School Board agrees. Today, the District is working on a facilities development proposal, cost estimates and a timeline that would allow for a bond referendum on Election Day this fall. It would be the first facilities bond request in 18 years.
If proposed by the Board and approved by voters, a successful bond would provide the funding necessary to add flexible classroom space to all schools. That would prevent class sizes from rising and keep students out of temporary space solutions like portables or trailers. A successful bond would also allow the District to address aging infrastructure and enhance safety at all schools throughout the District.
In the coming months, please watch for many more details on this developing proposal.
These schools belong to our community. It’s up to us all to ensure they keep pace with space.
Mounds View Public Schools