“Cuts to school budgets touch everyone in a rural Minnesota. In Chatfield,
we built a highly effective system to improve the educational outcomes of our students based on what the state was requiring. Now, we have begun dismantling it due to state aid not keeping pace with costs.”
Chatfield Superintendent, Ed Harris
The Chatfield School Board unanimously approved an operating levy and building bond referendums for the November 3 ballot.
These questions if passed would situate the school district on firm financial ground with updated facilities for the foreseeable future.
School districts rely on state and local funds to operate and maintain their schools. State revenue has not kept pace with the level of inflation for the last decade (1.4% revenue increases vs. 3% expense increases). The district is in need of additional operating revenue to stop future budget reductions. For 2014-2016, the district cut approximately $450,000 out of the budget which impacted programs, class sizes, staff, and operations. Passage of question #1 raises the possibility of reversing some of these cuts.
A good portion of the high school is
nearing 60 years of age. While additions
were made in 1967 and some parts were
upgraded during the last building project in
2008, the sections that were built in 1958
have maintenance needs that must be
addressed now to prolong its usefulness
for years to come and bring it up to current
learning environment standards.
What is the Plan?
There are 3 key areas proposed:
Support Students First:
The operating levy will increase spending by $476
per student providing long-term budget stability.
It will allow the district to avoid further budget cuts next year and support
growth of successful programs.
Maintain Our Facilities:
The $19.75 million bond encompasses updating, renovating, and building academic areas to
support 21st century learning as well as long-term internal and external maintenance issues including roof repair phase 1.
The $3 million bond addresses improvements and updates to our athletic field areas, track, and grounds at both the elementary and high school and phase 2 roof repair.
Build a Thriving Community:
Schools are for the whole community – for youth and adult programs and activities as well as for resident fans cheering on students at athletics and arts performances. An
investment in schools is a community investment that builds pride and keeps
property values robust.