STMA Levy Vote Scheduled for November 2
On November 2, 2021, STMA residents will be asked to maintain our tradition of excellence by voting on a operating levy.
Due to the pandemic, STMA is facing a perfect financial storm. Fortunately, STMA started the pandemic in solid financial condition, but even the most prudent of fiscal planning could not have anticipated these impacts and its effects on students, families, and staff.
- The state funding formula continues to work against STMA students and families. STMA remains the lowest funded district in per pupil revenue due to an unfair funding formula and is ranked 330 out of 330 school districts in the state.
- Enrollment drives the funding formula. There was a significant decrease in student enrollment in FY2021 due to the pandemic. Further, stabilizing long-term student enrollment results in less revenue than previous years.
- The pandemic created significant and unforeseen expenses. These expenses include, but are not limited to, PPE, cleaning supplies, substitute staff, unemployment costs, technology, and more.
- COVID-19 created unexpected disruptions in revenue. Loss of reliable revenue streams were temporarily halted including student activity fees, facility rentals, food services meals, and more.
- STMA lost $7 million in revenue loss and extra costs due to the pandemic.
- STMA made significant budget reductions. In response to the sharp decrease in enrollment and loss of revenue streams, STMA cut $6 million--over 70 staff in total--all in one year. This means class sizes this year will be 27-35 in grades K-4 and 35-40 in grades 5-12.
- Looking forward, future budget projections are bleak. With past massive multi-year budget cuts and additional projected budget deficits, additional cuts will mean fewer opportunities for students.
We need local taxpayer help to get beyond the pandemic and maintain essential programming. We have one of the strongest statewide track records of minimizing overall taxes and maximizing opportunities and experiences we offer to our students, but the pandemic has created the need for a sustainable source of local revenue.
WHAT WOULD THE TAX IMPACT BE?
$1195 per student = $59/month*
*on an average home value of $250,000
WHAT WOULD THE MONEY BE USED FOR?
This levy would fund essential functions throughout the district such as maintaining our teachers and support staff. Approval of a levy would allow us to return class sizes to previous levels and maintain our course and activity offerings in.academics,arts, and activities.
WHAT MAY HAPPEN WITHOUT A LEVY?
- Increased class sizes [cuts of 60-70 additional staff]
- Elimination of programs [art, music, high-potential/advanced, intervention]
- Elimination of middle school activities and lower-level high school activities
- Increases in walking distances to school
- Increase student fees
*These are potential reductions. The school board has not made a decision at this time.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER DISTRICTS?
STMA does not currently have a voter approved levy. However, 71% of Minnesota districts have a levy. The proposed amount would only place us in the middle of comparable and neighboring districts in levy revenue.
WHERE DO I VOTE?