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Education Levy Renewal On The Ballot November 5

posted Aug 20, 2013, 7:01 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Aug 21, 2013, 7:00 AM ]

Levy to address class size, update curriculum, raise student achievement

    During its regular meeting August 20, the Duluth School Board approved a two question education levy ballot for consideration by voters November 5, 2013. 

     The first question regards renewal of the current education levy with no property tax increase.  The current levy generates $4.4 million in local revenue for schools. The levy expires in fiscal year 2014 and renewal is impacted by new school funding legislation.

·  New legislation renews about $1.9 million of this levy through a location equity allowance (LEA) put in place by the State this spring.

·  The remaining $2.5 million is up for renewal through a public vote November 5.  The  LEA and levy renewal combined do not increase property taxes.  Through new legislation, the Board could have approved the remaining $2.5 million levy without a public vote but opted not to use that authority.  

·  Renewing the levy would qualify Duluth for an additional $1.1 million in State education funds.

      “This is a reasonable balance between providing citizens an opportunity to vote on the renewal and acknowledging the hard work our legislators have done to support K-12 education,” says Superintendent Bill Gronseth.

First Question:  Voters will first be asked to renew the current education levy with no property tax increase.

·        Passage of the First Question qualifies Duluth’s schools for $1.1 million in additional State funding.  Funds support the community vision and priorities identified through the Think Kids initiative and 4- Year Continuous Improvement Plan:

Ø  Help address class size “hot spots” and avoid increasing class sizes.

Ø  Continue to fund current strategies to address the achievement gap.

Ø  Move forward with necessary updates to curriculum.

·        Passage of the First Question does not result in a property tax increase.

Second Question:  Voters will then be asked if local education funding should increase by $1.8 million.   

·      Passage adds additional funds to:

Ø  Help reduce class size at all levels

Ø  Provide additional strategies to increase student achievement and reduce the achievement gap

Ø  Allow investment in innovative science curriculum

·        Passage of Second Question results in a property taxes increase:

$125,000 Home:        $3.15/Mo  
$150,000 Home:        $3.78/Mo  
$200,000 Home:        $5.04/Mo  
$250,000 Home:        $6.30/Mo  

If the First Question does not pass:

Ø  Loss of $2.5 million in local education funding

Ø  Loss of $1.1 million in State aid

Ø  The Second Question automatically does not pass.

Ø  Annual budget cuts will increase average class size over time

Ø  The ability to update curriculum will be challenged by lack of funds

Ø  Efforts to reduce the achievement gap and support student achievement in general will be challenged by lack of funds