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ISD 279 - Osseo Area Schools

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What's the difference between levies and bonds? What's a referendum?

What's the difference between levies and bonds? What's a referendum?

Essentially, Levies are for learning support - staff in mosts cases - and bonds are for buildings. 

Levies fund the day-to-day learning operations of a school district. In most cases this is staffing. Levies can also fund teaching/learning materials, classroom supports and technology tools and services. Typically levies have a 10-year life span. 

Bonds fund major renovations or additions to the physical school buildings. Such improvements cannot be resourced through the facilities maintenance fund. Typically bonds have a 20-year life span or more. 

A referendum is the holding of an election for levies and/or bonds. A levy referendum was held last year (Nov. 8, 2022), and a bond referendum is being held this year (Nov. 7, 2023). 

Levies and bonds are independent of one another and must be utilized for their designated purpose.

building a better future vote

Last year’s community-approved technology levy funded the technology needed for safety/security improvements at district schools. The Phase II plan, if approved by voters, would address safety/security needs in relation to the physical school buildings. This includes improvements to the entrances at high schools and additional safety/security enhancements at all schools in order to meet district standards as well as the latest safety/security best practices. 

Learn More about I thought the 2022 levies addressed safety/security. What are the current needs?
  • Projects to improve safety/security would not proceed.
  • Crowded conditions and large class sizes would continue. Attendance boundary adjustments would be required at all levels to provide relief, which is estimated to move 6,000 students from their current schools. 
  • Learning spaces would continue to age and become less relevant. 
  • Inconsistent learning experiences would continue.
  • Budget cuts would be required. Projected to be at least $31 million (approx. 300 jobs).
Learn More about What happens if the ballot question is not approved by voters?

Building a Better Future, Phase II, builds upon the work already started in Phase I and the district’s new strategic plan. These are the school building improvements that would continue that forward movement. Note: These proposed projects were determined through a multi-year research process that involved students, staff, families and community members.

Learn More about What school building needs are being addressed in the Phase II plan?

At its Jan. 10 work session, board members heard from various study groups on their facility needs findings throughout the district. The teams were: Enrollment and Capacity Management Advisory Committee, Furniture and Next Generation Learning Space, Career/Technical Education, Community Education, Specialized Services, and Magnet Schools. Visit the school board document page for each group's in-depth research

Learn More about What did study groups take a look at with regard to school building needs?