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Operating Levy 2022

Packer Pride  •  Packer Promise

South St. Paul Public Schools is seeking an increase to the voter approved operating levy to support the needs of our students and staff.

What is the school district asking for?

South St. Paul Public Schools is asking community members to:

Question #1

Approve an increase of $900 per student. The additional funds will enable the district to:

  • Maintain small class sizes
  • Avoid the potentially devastating impact of substantial budget cuts to programs and staff 

Question #2:

Approve an additional increase of $250 per student that the district will use to:

  • Invest in much-needed academic/mental health support for students
  • Expand programming opportunities for students
  • Increase career and college readiness opportunities for students
Question #1 must pass in order for question #2 to pass

 

A Difficult Decision

Engaging with Stakeholders

When Dr. Brian Zambreno took over as superintendent in March of 2022, he released his 90-Day Entry Plan where he committed to meeting with a variety of stakeholders to learn more about the district.  Over those next three months, he heard from students, staff, families and various organizations around the community about the successes and challenges facing South St. Paul Public Schools. Click here to view more from Dr. Zambreno’s 90-Entry Plan work and watch his June presentation to the School Board.

Dr. Zambreno also spent a great deal of time reviewing data related to the academic outcomes and the financial health of the district. In May of 2022, a community survey was conducted to learn more from the broader community about their perceptions of South St. Paul Public Schools.

image representation of financial cliff and possible spending cuts

Facing a financial cliff

Over the years, South St. Paul Public Schools has been:

  • Resourceful creating a variety of partnerships to increase opportunities for students
  • Creative in making needed budget adjustments
  • Mindful of the financial capacity of our taxpayers

Most recently, the district cut $1.4 million from its 2022-23 budget with a focus on cuts that wouldn’t significantly impact our classrooms. Unfortunately the ongoing lack of adequate state funding paired with the end of one-time COVID funding, the district used to support student needs, means the district is facing a devastating financial cliff.

 

South St. Paul Public Schools will then be faced with the need to make broader and deeper cuts to staffing and academic programs. To avoid these potentially devastating cuts, the school board made the difficult decision to ask our community to increase its current operating levy.

Less levy funding means the school district has less money to support students, staff, and programming.

Less Money to support our students

Since 2003, basic state education funding has not kept pace with increased costs for operating schools, thus creating a funding gap. Had the formula allowance increased by the rate of inflation each year since 2003, the 2023 allowance would be $1,263 more per student or $4,067,000 annually for our district.

To narrow this gap, most Minnesota school districts — including South St. Paul Public Schools — rely upon voter-approved funds to support student learning. SSPPS has always been mindful of how taxes impact our community members, however our current operating levy is $608 per student below the metro average. That places us near the bottom of all metro school districts (#35 of 43 districts).

Visual representation of where SSPPS ranks in the metro for voter approved funding
Visual representation of the gap in inflation and government school funding

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, SOUTH ST. PAUL PUBLIC SCHOOLS RANKS #35 OUT OF 43 DISTRICTS FOR OPERATING LEVIES, PUTTING US NEAR THE BOTTOM.

Watch the Levy Presentation to the SSPPS School Board

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions or need additional information about the school funding request, please reach out via one of the following ways:

  • Email your question to levy@sspps.org
  • - Coming Soon - submit a question via our online form
  • Attend a community meeting (dates and times above)

 

Visit the SSPPS Finance and Business Page