- What are the questions on the ballot?
- Why is the school district asking for more funding?
- How does South St. Paul's operating levy compare with other school districts?
- What will happen if voters don't approve the requests?
- What will these requests mean to my property taxes?
Q: What are the questions on the ballot?
Question 1 would increase the district’s operating levy to help the district retain quality teaching staff, fund programs to help students who struggle academically, operate the schools and minimize future budget cuts.
- If voters approve the operating levy increase, SSPPS will receive additional annual revenue of $1.3 million. While that additional revenue won’t cover the entire 2018-19 projected budget deficit, it will help the district protect critical educational programs and staff.
Question 2 would renew the district’s technology levy to help fund technology for teaching and learning by keeping computers up-to-date, giving students exposure and access to technology tools and providing teachers with technology training.
- Because this renews an existing levy, there would be no tax impact.
In less than ten years, the school district has cut nearly $6 million. SSPPS has cut teachers, support staff, administrative staff, kindergarten assistants, custodians, school supplies, curriculum and other areas. The district has also increased activities fees to help balance costs. This is due to inadequate state funding that has not kept pace with increasing costs nor inflation.
If state funding had kept up with inflation since 2003, SSPPS would have received an additional $5 million last year to spend on students’ educational needs. In the past ten years. After years of cutting budgets, a history of inadequate state funding for our schools and months of analyzing district finances, the South St. Paul School Board voted unanimously to put two school funding requests before residents on a November 7, 2017 ballot. The last time SSPPS voters approved an operating levy increase was 2009.
For a more detailed Dakota County schools operating levy comparison chart, click here.
SSPPS currently receives $470 less in per-student voter-approved funding than the average of all Dakota County school districts; our local education funding is among the lowest in the county.
If voters do not approve question one, we would:
- Face a $1.7M deficit in 2018-19 and more in future years
- Increase class sizes
- Eliminate teaching and teaching support positions
- Reduce building support positions such as clerical and custodial
- Decrease support for struggling learners
- Eliminate student programs/services, activities, athletics and arts programs
If voters do not approve question two, we would face:
- A longer replacement cycle for all technology related equipment, leaving students and teachers with outdated or unworkable equipment
- A potential reduction in technology support staff
- No dedicated funding source for technology, equipment, and purchases
If both requests are approved by voters, the tax impact on an average homeowner ($178,000 home) would be less than $12 per month (Q1 = $11.67. Q2 = $0).