District 279 Board Puts Levy Requests On Ballot
The Osseo School District School Board recently approved resolutions to a request for an operating levy and technology levy on the Nov. 6, 2012 election ballot.
On Nov. 6, 2012, voters in the Osseo School District 279 will see two additional items on their ballot – requests for more funding via an operating levy and technology levy.
The operating levy, if approved by voters, would provide the Osseo School District with an additional $9 million a year for five years. The technology levy, if approved, would provide the district with $5 million per year for 10 years. The funds would be available to the district during the 2013-2014 school year and expire in 2017.
The Osseo School District 279 School Board approved putting the funding requests on the November ballots during a July 17 meeting.
Property taxes would increase for property owners should one or both of the levy requests pass. For example, a residential home in the Osseo School District with an estimated market value of $200,000 could see a property tax increase of $247 per year if both operating levy ($168 per year) and technology levy ($79) passed.
Neither question on the Nov. 6 ballot will be contingent upon one another for passage.
Superintendent Kate Maguire outlined several items relating to the levy requests in a presentation to the school board July 17. The board later approved the two resolutions relating levy referendum requests.
The levy requests, according to Maguire, are being brought to the District 279 residents now due to:
- Increasing costs of doing business [in the district]
- Increased expectations and requirements
- Duty to provide high quality programs and services that prepare students for higher education and careers.
- Proactive financial management
Without the approval of the operating levy funds, Maguire said the “deep expenditure reductions” of approximately $14 million are projected by the 2014-2015 school year.
“It’s clear additional local support will be needed to help us sustain the success we’re delivering in areas that are important for our kids and our community,” she said during her presentation. She later indicated some budget cuts might still be likely in the future.
How Would Levy Funds Be Used?
The operating levy request to be put before the District 279 voters in November would be for $9 million a year for five years to “continue progress” in the following areas, according to Maguire:
- Increasing student achievement
- Improving the graduation rate
- Increasing participation in the most challenging courses
The technology (capital project) levy will request $5 milllion a year for 10 years for:
- Classroom technology equipment
- Curriculum materials
- Staff Training
- Reliable technology infrastructure
For proposed ballot wording and more information on the levy requests, see the documents on the District 279 website provided to the Osseo School Board at the July 17 meeting or watch the meeting video.
What do you think of a levy referendum on the ballot for the 2012 election? Share your thoughts in comments!