It’s In Your Hands Stillwater: School Board Passes Levy and Bond Questions for Fall Ballot
An overview of the levy and bond requests and how it will impact the voters, the school district and the students.
After a long year of research, the Stillwater Area School Board make the decision Thursday to ask voters for a operating levy, capital project levy and a bond request this November.
So what does this exactly mean for Stillwater voters, the school district and future students?
Here is a break down on the tax impact of the proposed levies and bond request:
- Operating Levy: this will increase the operating amount per student by $500 for seven years for a total of $1,465 per student for seven years. The tax impact on a $100,000 home is $67.90 per a year or $5.66 a month.
- To support a Capital Projects Levy, costing $982,300 for seven years. This levy will expand student access to technology. The tax impact on a $100,000 home is $12.22 per year or $1.02 a month.
- To support an $18.1 million bond to pay for updating and adding science labs, STEM labs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and HVAC systems. This bond will be paid back over 10 years. The tax impact on a $100,000 home is $17.33 per year per $1.44 a month.
It was a sober vote as all the school board members unanimously supported all the three proposed levy and bond questions.
“This is a year’s worth of work, we take this very seriously and we know this will be a burden for some folks out there but we are feel that we are falling behind. The Stillwater in the nineties is not the Stillwater today,” School Board Chairperson George Dierberger said.
If all the levy and bond requests pass this fall, the school district will still have to cut $5 million from their budget this year, a total of $14.7 million will be cut over the next four years and enact a hiring freeze in the district.
If the requests do not pass the school district will be forced to cut $10 million from their budget next year, a total of $30 million dollars over the next four years.
So what will Stillwater residents get for their money?
- The Operating Levy will assist in carrying on the progress made since 2007 in all academic areas and enhance 21st century learning opportunities for the students to prepare them for a global society by offering real world science, arts and world language classes.
- The Capital Project Levy is only used for technology. This levy will pay to replace 3,400 district owned devices, decrease the student to computer ratios, add classroom technologies, provide technology training for teachers and staff and ensure equity between schools.
- The bond will pay for adding five science labs and two STEM labs at the high school and expand the existing four science labs at Oak-Land Junior High, as well as renovating existing space into one STEM lab at the junior high level. The school district plans on updating the HVAC systems at six schools in the district (Afton-Lakeland, Lake Elmo, Lily Lake, Oak Park, Oak-Land Junior High and Stillwater Junior High).
All these requests will help the vision 2014 goal be achieved.
School board member Kathy Buchholz has been speaking with voters over the last few weeks and believes the community “wants a strong public school system.”
“In an ideal world the state legislature would fund all this but it’s clear that is not happening. I hate that we need to go out to ask these questions in this economy but we have no choice,” school board member Natasha Fleischman said.
Election Day is Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. You must register before you can vote. In Minnesota, you may register 20 days before Election Day or on Election Day at your polling place. To get more information and voting registration forms, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website.