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Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled a list of common questions about the 2017 Levy Referendum and their answers. This list will be updated as more questions are received. If you have a question that's not listed here, you can submit it to info@isd191.org

General Election and Finance Questions

Questions About Vision One91

 

General Election and Finance Questions

Q. What are the ballot questions?

A. There will be two questions on the November 7 ballot. They are:  

  • Question 1: Renew an existing operating levy, which is due to expire. If not renewed, the district would lose more than $7 million in annual funding that currently supports day-to-day school and district operating expenses, including retaining quality staff, transportation costs, utilities, classroom supplies and other supports to student learning.

  • Question 2: Increase the operating levy to provide $3.9 million in additional annual resources to minimize future budget cuts, help maintain class sizes and protect student support and educational programs. Q2 is contingent on Q1; Q2 can only pass if Q1 is approved.

Download a Sample Ballot

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Q. When is the election and where do I vote?

A. The election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Polling locations have been set. You can find your polling location using the Secretary of State's Pollfinder feature. Absentee and early voting will also be available. Learn more about voting online at www.mnvotes.org.

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Q. What is the tax impact to a homeowner?

A. On an average home valued at $250,000, the estimated tax impact is $10 per month if both questions are approved. Learn more about tax impact here.

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Q. What is District 191 doing to save money?

A. The district is always looking for ways to save money while still serving students. Over the past two years, the district refinanced several bonds to save approximately $4 million in payments over the life of those bonds.

The district also recently entered into a partnership to place solar arrays on several school buildings. The solar panels could help the district save $1 million or more in energy costs, as well as providing to learning opportunities for students.  

The district's self-financed health and dental insurance plans have kept insurance cost increases below 5 percent per year, a considerable savings for the district and employees compared to average increases.

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Q. When was the last time District 191 asked for a levy increase from voters?

A. The district has not asked for an operating levy increase since 2007.

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Q. How is this different than the 2015 Vision One91 referendum?

A. In 2015, voters approved building bonds for major renovations to our buildings to support the changes involved in Vision One91. Bonds provide funds to build new schools, renovate existing schools and maintain our buildings. Bonds cannot be used for school district operations.

This 2017 request is to increase our operating levy, which funds school operations by paying for educational programming, teachers and other staff, classroom materials, utilities and transportation costs. This increase is requested to make up for inadequate state funding, which is our primary source of revenue. If approved, it will stabilize our budget and help us maintain the momentum of Vision One91.

Sometimes the phrase "Bonds are for building. Levies are for learning." is used to describe the difference between bond funding and levy funding. 

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Q. What happens if both questions pass?

If voters approve both funding requests, the district would be able to:

  • Maintain the momentum of Vision One91 by providing students and staff with programs and opportunities to support their success
  • Continue low average class sizes in our schools
  • Attract and retain high quality staff
  • Maintain student support services, including counselors, mental health services and cultural liaisons to support achievement
  • Strengthen college- and career-ready focus, including Pathways, to raise achievement for all students

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Q. What happens if both questions fail?

If voters DO NOT APPROVE both funding requests, the district would need to cut more than $10 million from the budget, with these likely actions:

  • Cut approximately 80 teachers, which is about 10% of the teaching staff
  • Cut school support staff and district-level staff
  • Reduce student support services, such as counselors, mental health services and cultural liaisons
  • Reduce student programming, which could include College in the Schools, Pathways and fine arts
  • Increase student fees
  • Increase class sizes
  • Increase student walking distances to schools
  • Eliminate magnet and activity transportation
  • Examine school offerings

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Q. What happens if Question 1 passes and Question 2 fails?

If voters APPROVE Q1 but DO NOT APPROVE Q2, the district would need to cut nearly $3 million, with these likely actions:

  • Cut the equivalent of 45 teachers
  • Increase class sizes
  • Identify reductions in program offerings, department services and athletics/activities

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Questions About Vision One91

Q. What is Vision One91?

A. Vision One91 is our work to redesign District 191 to meet the needs of today's learners and ensure each student is Future Ready. It includes the re-organization of schools to best support student learning, increased classroom technology, improvements to school safety and security, and much more.

You can watch this video to get an update on what's been accomplished so far with Vision One91 and what's next.

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