This spring, the Minnesota Legislature changed the way school districts receive funding for education. During a July 30th Committee of the Whole meeting, Superintendent Bill Gronseth presented information to the School Board about these changes and provided several examples of how the new legislation could impact renewal of the current operating levy.
"I suggest we consider examples that would keep the amount people already pay for an education levy the same and not increase it," says Gronseth. "I also suggest we consider options that include an operating levy referendum vote and that allow us to take advantage of the additional $1.1 million in State Aid. Based on what we heard through the Think Kids initiative, whatever we are able to raise will provide much needed support for managing and perhaps even reducing class size and supporting efforts to close the achievement gap."
Among many actions, the State changed the way pupil units are calculated and the way per pupil funding is determined.
For example, ISD 709 currently has a voter approved operating levy of about $365.60 per pupil unit to generate $4.4 million in local property tax revenue. The new per pupil weighting system would require about $600 per pupil unit to generate the same $4.4 million in local property tax revenue. Although the per pupil numbers are different, the tax impact is the same.
The State also changed the law to give most school districts authority for a board-approved education levy. Districts can choose to use this authority, combine it with a referendum election or not use it at all. The State provides an opportunity for additional State funding if a board-approved education levy or an education levy by referendum is passed.
A final recommendation will be presented at the August business committee meeting. Below are several examples discussed during the Committee of the Whole meeting. All would keep the amount people currently pay for an education levy the same or decrease it.
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