There will be two questions on the ballot:
- Question 1: A no-tax increase request to renew the existing operating levy. If not renewed, the district would lose $7.3 million in annual funding. The levy supports day-to-day school and district operating expenses, including retaining quality staff, transportation costs, utilities and classroom supplies.
- Question 2: An increase to that operating levy to provide additional 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.
There are several ways that voters can learn more about these school funding requests:
- Visit www.isd191.org/referendum to view fact sheets, a short video, a sample ballot and other resources
- Call the referendum information line: (952) 707-2019
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attend an Information Session:
- Thursday, Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m. at Metcalf Middle School, 2250 Diffley Road, Burnsville.
- Monday, Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m. at Diamondhead Education Center, 200 W. Burnsville Parkway, Burnsville
The school district’s funding requests were driven by state funding that has not kept pace with inflation or with increasing educational costs, as well as an operating levy about to expire. If state education funding had kept up with inflation over the past 15 years, the district would be receiving nearly $600 per student more in revenue – totaling more than $5 million annually.
If voters approve both funding requests, the district would be able to:
- Continue low average class sizes
- 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
If voters do not approve both funding requests, the district would need to cut more than $10 million from the budget, resulting in staff cuts, class size increases and reduced educational programming.
Nearly all Minnesota school districts rely on voter-approved operating levies for school funding. The district has not asked for an operating levy increase since 2007. If voters approve both requests, the tax impact on a $250,000 value home would be approximately $10 per month.