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Building a Better Future: Taking a closer look at ballot question one

Thank you for taking the time to be informed on the Building a Better Future referendum. This week we’re taking a closer look at ballot question one. 

The current voter-approved operating levy pays for day-to-day learning and instructional needs. The proposed increase of $7 million a year would continue and expand: 

  • Individualized learning, which is adapting teaching strategies to align with each scholar’s learning style. Building relationships is the first step in achieving this, which takes both time and supports. 
  • Academic interventions, which provides additional help to scholars who are struggling with math and/or reading. Our vision statement talks about each and every one of our scholars thriving. Academic interventions are needed to make that happen.
  • Student mental health needs, which helps scholars learn to get along with others. These supports are critical to success in school, life and work, and research shows that their presence enhances academic performance and reduces classroom disruptions. The latest state and district parent/caregiver surveys show such supports as being a top need.

The current voter-approved operating levy is about 12% of this district’s budget or $35 million a year. The increase being presented to voters will mitigate budget cuts anticipated to begin the 2023-24 school year as some of these priorities have been funded with one-time dollars that are expiring. Also, when the operating levy began in 2013, it was used to pay for 378 staff members. The same levy today will pay for 320 staff members, which is a decrease of 15% or 58 staff members.

Watch this short YouTube video for another overview of question one.

Early voting starts Friday, Sept. 23. You can request an early voting ballot via the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Also on the site, check your voter registration and find your polling place location for Nov. 8

More at district279.org/BetterFuture.