FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Didn’t we pass a school tax last year?
A. Yes, last year voters approved a much-needed increase in the operating levy. Thank you for your support! This levy helps pay for operational expenses such as utilities, transportation, teacher salaries, and successful academic programs that contribute to recent academic gains.
Q. Why didn’t the school district budget for renovations and additions?
A: Our annual capital budget is just enough to take care of routine maintenance and operating costs. The legislature recognizes this and allows school districts to sell bonds, much like a home improvement loan, to cover the cost of renovations and additions that annual budgets cannot support. Most of what is in the proposed plan requires voter approval. We feel it is very important, and our responsibility, to maintain and update the facilities that taxpayers have paid for.
Q: How much will it cost for maintenance and upkeep of additional classrooms and how will it be paid for?
A: The new space is not significantly larger than our current space and regular maintenance can be accomplished within our existing budget. This includes heating, air conditioning, custodial services, etc.
Q. Why do we need more money for facilities when what we have is adequate?
A. What we have now was adequate in 1967 when we last asked voters to approve bond funds for the high school (there was a question on the 2008 ballot for some HS work). Here are some things that schools are expected to provide in the 21st century that we need to provide space for:
* Current STEM: Technology, Engineering and Math programming
* Science rooms, agriculture and industrial tech areas that prepare students for jobs that did not exist when the building was built.
* Lockers sized to meet the needs of today’s student (e.g. large backpacks and laptops/tablets.
* Flexible learning spaces to accommodate new technologies and learning models that utilize computers, Internet, Smart Boards, laptops/tablets and modular seating/tables.
*Teaching practices that inspire creative thinking for jobs that don’t even exist yet.
* New education practices that utilize flexible learning spaces that allow for anything from individual use to lecture hall-style presentations
* Modern educational spaces that mimic what students will encounter in the work place and post-secondary institutions.
Q. Who can afford new taxes?
A. The property tax increase on a $140,000 property would be about $4 per month. However, you may be eligible for tax relief. Owners of homesteaded property may be eligible for the Minnesota Property Tax Refund or “Circuit Breaker.” The “Targeted Homeowners Property Tax Refund” can be applied to all homesteaded properties that experience a net property tax increase of 12 percent or $100 over the prior year. Determine your eligibility by completing the M1-PR state tax form. (available online at www.taxes.state.mn.us).