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ISD 279 - Osseo Area Schools

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What has the district done to manage costs and avoid asking for an increase?

Osseo Area Schools has had to make reductions over the past decade to maintain a healthy fiscal forecast. State education funding has not kept up with inflation, nor with increasing educational costs and needs. Inadequate funding is putting increased pressure on the district's operating budget, which funds teachers, classrooms and other operating costs.

Over the decade, the district has reduced expenditures in the general fund. The district has done its best to keep cuts away from the classroom, but that becomes increasingly difficult. While the district typically sees its expenditures increase by approximately 3% per year, state funding formulas have provided increases in revenue ranging from 1.0% to 2.45% over the last decade. With the resulting shortfall, the district's general fund budget has required reductions, adjustments and modifications to remain balanced.

The district works diligently to achieve its operational objectives without significantly impacting direct student classroom instruction by using a number of strategies to balance the district's general fund budget. These budget balancing strategies have included:

  • Cost containment: budget reductions, budget cuts and delay of certain expenditures.
  • Cost avoidance: energy efficiencies and automating processes.
  • Cost shifting: moving certain costs to another fund or dedicated funding source, such as one-time grants.
building a better future vote

If approved by voters, the district would be able to maintain its class sizes. A scientifically-valid community survey this past January revealed that the majority of parents and caregivers would prefer to focus on programming and other individualized learning options when they learned how much a change would cost. To lower class sizes by just one student across all grade levels, approximately $5.2 million a year would be needed.

Learn More about Is the district lowering class sizes as part of this plan?

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.

Learn More about What does Question 1 ask voters?

Requests an increase in the district’s capital project levy for technology. This pays for classroom learning technology, infrastructure systems and needed support staff. If approved by voters, it would provide an additional $2.3 million annually for the district to additionally prioritize school safety and security technology, tools and systems for all scholars and digital learning spaces throughout schools.

Learn More about What does Question 2 ask voters?

Social-emotional supports help scholars learn to get along with others, which is critical to success in school, life and work. Scholars then effectively apply their knowledge, attitudes and skills to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Research shows that the presence of social-emotional supports enhances academic performance and reduces classroom disruptions.

Learn More about What exactly are scholar mental health needs?