The Stillwater Area School Board on Thursday night unanimously approved a request to renew and increase its operating levy on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The decision is based on two years of planning and community input, and months of discussion about complex changes in state legislation.
Below is a news release from the Stillwater Area School District:
If voters approve the request, it would renew the current levy of $11 million and increase it by $5 million.
This represents a five percent increase to the district’s budget. If approved, it would be the first time in 10 years that the community provided an increase in funding to its schools beyond the rate of inflation.The funds would support students and classrooms by addressing three key issues:
1. Provide Financial Stability
- Support current programs
- Avoid more budget cuts
2. Support Our Bridge to Excellence Plan
- Recreate how students learn and better prepare them for the future
3. Increase School Safety and Security
- Add secured school entrances and quick response systems
- Expand anti-bullying and mental health initiatives
“We’ve worked hard to provide a fiscally conservative and thoughtful levy proposal,” said Superintendent Corey Lunn. “In the past two years we spent countless hours with community members and staff, reviewing our budget, discussing community values and analyzing changes in state law to ensure we were presenting a clear proposal that meets students’ needs while providing the best value to our taxpayers.”
If the levy is approved, the tax increase on a $250,000 home would be $14 per month, according to the district. This is 10 percent less than what the district originally anticipated due to new tools from the state that enable the district to ask for additional funding at a lower cost to residents.
If the levy fails, the school board has already approved a list of 105 specific budget reductions, which includes things like raising class sizes, implementing a four-day school week (which would also impact charter and private schools), reducing band/orchestra/vocal music, and restructuring or closing an elementary school.