Allen said the teaching staff and principal from East Junior would transfer to the new building. New hires would include janitorial and kitchen staff. Heating and cooling the building, as well as other upkeep costs, would come from the general fund.
Allen said the state per-pupil funding means more students in the schools results in more funding to pay for those additional costs.
A few of the audience members were current and former educators, including Annie and Randy Muske who live in Mankato but both teach out of the district. The couple said they're impressed with Mankato's growth and would be voting in favor of the referendum.
“We're very interested in supporting education,” Annie Muskie said.
Jay Eichhorst, a music teacher at East Junior, said he would be voting in favor as well because he sees the growth in the district firsthand in the classrooms. East is crowded during passing times, and there's little room for storage, among other issues.
“There's certain things you can't do,” Eichhorst said.
Pat and Deb Buley of Mankato attended Thursday's meeting to find out just how much growth the Mankato district has experienced and whether these projects are warranted. The Buleys had children who grew up in the district, but now that they're grown, “we're out of the loop,” they said.
The couple will be attending the next informational session to glean more information about class sizes and the tax impact before making a decision on how they'll vote.
If the referendum passes, the tax hike for the average $150,000 homestead would be $94 per year, or $7.83 per month. For a $225,000 homestead, the tax increase would be $154 per year, or $12.83 per month.
Jerry Kolander, director of business affairs, said lower interest rates and more taxpayers in the district mean that taxpayers will be paying less for a $69.5 million bond than they did in 1992 for $24.6 million.
Mankato district voters have routinely voted through referendums in the past, including a district operating levy that will be in place until 2017-18; and a $33.3 million bond in 2008 for Rosa Parks Elementary and an Eagle Lake expansion, among other things.
The next informational session is 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at Dakota Meadows.