SCHOOL DISTRICT MAKES CASE FOR OPERATING LEVY
By Al Lohman, Waconia Patriot, Oct 1. 2020
School District 110 leaders have started to make the rounds in the community to share information about the proposed school operating levy question that is on the ballot this general election.
School officials hosted a “virtual” online town hall earlier this month and were at a Waconia Chamber of Commerce candidate forum last Thursday, Sept. 17. School building specific town hall meetings to inform parents about the upcoming 2020 operating levy also are scheduled, as well as additional community town halls slated for Sept. 30 and Oct. 8. Voters can learn more on the district website: isd110.org.
The ballot question asks local voters to approve an extra $410 per student funding, or nearly $2 million in additional revenue to fund operations to help get the district out of debt and maintain educational programs.
“This is an opportunity for voters to decide the quality of education they want moving forward,” School Superintendent Pat Devine said at the Chamber forum.
The quick levy facts are these, according to ISD 110 officials:
As general and special education costs have increased, state and federal funding have not kept pace.
Due to a new funding formula from the state of Minnesota, ISD 110’s state funding reduced dramatically, causing the district to into statutory operating debt (SOD). The funding deficit absorbed funding from the 2018 operating levy.
In response, ISD 110 has made $2 million in budget reduction to balance the budget and established an SOD plan to get out of debt. Placing an operating levy on the November ballot is a component of the plan.
If the operating levy is approved, the school district could continue to offer high quality programming, electives and maintain current class sizes. If not approved, district families could expect a reduction in programming, fewer electives and activities, and larger class sizes.
District officials point out the 110’s current operating levy is lower than most school districts in the area, and would remain below many if the levy request is approved. If approved, the 2020 levy would have a tax impact of just under $20 per month on a $350,000 home, the average home value in the area.