*Results canvassed by the School Board on November 14, 2022.
QUESTION 1: "Shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 885 be approved?" [$756]
Yes: 5,304 [44.7%]
No: 6,564 [55.3%]
QUESTION 2: "If School District Question 1 is approved, shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 885 be approved?" [$102]
Yes: 5,015 [43.6%]
No: 6,490 [56.4%]
What was on the ballot?
While the St. Michael-Albertville Schools is a big point of pride in our community, our district faces some pressing financial challenges due to forces largely out of our control. Low state funding and stabilizing enrollment, exacerbated by the pandemic, have created an unforeseeable combination of multiple short-term and long-term impacts to our budget.
To help address these challenges, the STMA School Board has placed two operating levy referendum questions on the ballot for Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
$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
4 Years: We are asking taxpayers to commit to a relatively short period of time so we can reassess student needs in the future when the economy is more stable.
No Inflationary Factor: As inflation is at very high levels, it will not be included.
Why did STMA ask taxpayers to consider an operating levy on November 8, 2022?
STMA is one of the lowest-funded districts in per-pupil revenue in the state (ranked 325 out of 328 MN school districts). Despite strong advocacy with legislators and the governor, the funding formula remains unchanged.
Enrollment drives the state funding formula. STMA projects steady, but minimal, enrollment growth from now through 2026. A recent demographic study shows growth of .2-1% through 2026. Our kindergarten class has 433 students, and our senior class has 566.
85% of our funding is from the state and is largely based on student enrollment so stabilizing enrollment has led to significant budget shortfalls (this is the largest piece of our “why”).
We closely monitor our budget and enrollment data and knew we would experience budget shortfalls.
We built up our fund balances.
We started the pandemic in solid financial condition (per an annual third-party audit) with very healthy fund balances.
We are not blaming the pandemic. The pandemic exacerbated our budget issues but didn’t cause them as we thought we could make it a few more years without seeking taxpayer help.
The bottom line, the “why,” is due to stabilizing enrollment. With growth of .2-1% annually and a funding formula largely based on enrollment, we are facing significant budget shortfalls.
PROPERTY TAX IMPACT
*On an average home value of $350,000, For taxes payable in 2023.
Click here to view additional tax impact information.