After falling short in an attempt to pass a local school levy last election, St. Michael-Albertville School District is again turning to voters to approve a tax increase on Nov. 8.
The levy referendum, which is in two questions on the ballot for residents in ISD 885, would establish a local operating levy, which the District has never had, to provide “stable funding,” according to the District.
Per student, STMA Schools are among the lowest funded in Minnesota, thanks to a myriad of factors, including faster residential growth vs. commercial growth, a lower number of low-income and at-risk students and programs within the STMA area that require additional state funding, and flaws within the Minnesota funding formula that have left local districts across the state spending more than originally outlined for special education. This has created the so-called “cross subsidy,” which has cost school districts millions from general funds.
The cross subsidy issue was addressed in the 2021 Legislative Session, but the bill was never passed by the full Legislature.
Here’s a look at the ballot questions:
- $756 per student, which would generate approximately $5.2 million per year
- Maintains current programming
- Restores the walk zone
- Adds 8 staff to decrease class sizes
- Additional $102 per student for a total of $858, generating approximately $5.9 million per year
- Includes all items in Question 1
- Restores high-potential programming
- Reduces middle and high school activity fees
- Adds 7 FTE to decrease class sizes (15 total FTE)
*Q2 is contingent on Q1 passing
STMA states they are are asking taxpayers to commit to a relatively short period of time – four years – so the school district “can reassess student needs in the future when the economy is more stable.”
No Inflationary Factor: As inflation is at very high levels, the school district has decided it will not be included.