The first ballot question requests an increase in the district’s operating levy, which pays for day-to-day learning and instructional needs. If approved by voters, it would provide an additional $7 million annually for the district to continue and expand individualized learning, academic interventions, student mental health needs and other critical classroom supports. Let's take a closer look at these:
- Individualized learning is adapting teaching strategies to align with each scholar’s learning style. Maybe a scholar is a visual learner or maybe a scholar needs to walk through the steps of an assignment differently. Understanding these differences and adapting teaching and learning to the individualized needs of scholars takes staff, and the time and resources of these staff, for success to be reached.
- Academic interventions are staff providing additional help and resources to scholars who are struggling with core subjects like reading and math. The last couple of years our district has seen a significant increase in the need for these services. The added help ensures that all scholars are successful and leave our district prepared for the next step in their journeys, whatever that might be.
- Scholar mental health needs, which are often called social-emotional supports in education, help 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 Minnesota Safe Learning survey and district family survey both showed mental health supports as being one of the top needs requested by families. Right now, though, the need is outpacing the staff available to provide these services. Along with classroom teachers who directly teach social-emotional curriculum, other district staff members that help achieve this work are school counselors, school psychologists and social workers.
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 the priorities listed 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.
The impact on the average homeowner ($250,000 value home) would be about $7/month. Voters will see the question presented on their ballot in the following way:
School District Question 1
Revoking Existing Referendum Revenue Authorization;
Approving New Authorization
The board of Independent School District No. 279 (Osseo Area Schools), Minnesota has proposed to revoke the School District’s existing referendum revenue authorization of $1,801.72 per pupil, scheduled to expire after taxes payable in 2023, and replace that authorization with a new authorization of $2,125.97 per pupil, subject to an annual increase at the rate of inflation. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would be first levied in 2022 for taxes payable in 2023 and applicable for ten (10) years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.
Shall the revocation of the existing referendum authorization and the new authorization proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 279 (Osseo Area Schools), Minnesota be approved?
PASSAGE OF THIS REFERENDUM WILL RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN YOUR PROPERTY TAXES