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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • SEPS puts operating levy on general election ballot

  • District asking voters to pass referendum to combat rising inflation and lower revenues
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  • In the past three years, Sleepy Eye Public Schools have lost over $850,000 in valuable, essential programs. This includes several positions eliminated to make ends meet.
    A $500 per pupil unit in place for five years is what District 84 is asking voters to consider.
    The election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The precincts and polling places and voting hours at those polling places for this special election will be the same as those for the state general election.
    Any eligible voter residing in the school district may vote at the election at the polling place designated for the precinct where residents reside.
    A voter must be registered to vote to be eligible to vote in this election. Anyone who has not previously registered may register to vote at the polling place on election day.
    If the referendum vote passes, the district plans to use the funds to offset the deficit to balance out the gap between revenue and expenditures. In addition, the levy would allow the district to reinstate the most current cuts to elective classes that includes music, art, family and consumer science and business courses. It would also allow the district to reinstate cuts to counseling positions in both schools.
    The annual dollar increases for typical residential homesteads, apartments, commercial-industrial properties and most other classes of property within the school district will depend on the market value of the home. For instance, a residential property with a market value of $100,000 will see an increase in property taxes of $104 annually for the next five years (see chart in print edition of Herald-Dispatch for a more descriptive information.)
    To maintain efficient operations with no operating levy, District 84 has cut over $850,000 in valuable, essential programs in the past three years. In addition, the elementary principal position was combined with the superintendent's position.
    Faculty and staff has seen reductions as well. Several elementary positions had to be eliminated creating larger class sizes. The high school has seen cuts in positions as well, as two full-time positions were cut along with the elementary social worker, an ELL teacher, office support staff and a library assistant.
    Extra-curricular activities have also felt the crunch as C squad and junior high athletic positions were reduced.
    Classes offered had to be minimized and some of the elective classes that have taken a hit include FFA, art, business, family and consumer science and music.
    If the levy is voter approved, the funds will be used to offset the deficit to balance out the gap between the revenues and expenditures. It would also allow the district to reinstate the most current cuts to elective classes and counseling positions in both schools.
    An informational referendum meeting will be held Oct. 16 from 7-8 p.m. in the SEPS Lindahl room.
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