Sleepy Eye Public School is asking voters to approve a two question levy at a special election set for Nov. 8 at the Sleepy Eye Elementary School.
A public informational meeting is set for Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Sleepy Eye Elementary gymnasium.
The first question proposed to voters is a $750 per pupil levy that would generate $467,037.
The second question is a $250 additional levy for technology improvements that would generate an additional $156,148.
If passed, both levies would be in place for seven years starting with the 2012-2013 school year. The second question is contingent upon the passage of the first question.
According to Superintendent John Cselovszki, the majority of school districts in Minnesota already have a voter approved referendum in place. Another 121 districts around the state are asking voters to approve referendums.
“We are firm believers that a strong school translates to a strong community,” Cselovszki said. “We want to play a role in keeping this community strong and proud.”?
According to Cselovszki, the school board is listening to the public. The district conducted a survey this past spring asking taxpayers what they were willing to support.
“Based on survey results, the district reduced the request by $500 if both questions pass or $750 if only the first question passes,” Cselovszki said. The term was also be reduced from 10 years down to seven, he added.
“If the referendum passes, the district would seek to reinstate electives cut last year and counseling services to Sleepy Eye Pubic and St. Mary’s Schools,”?Cselovszki said.
The annual dollar increases for typical residential homesteads, apartments, commercial-industrial properties and most other classes of property within the school district range from $80 per year for a home with a taxable market value of $50,000 to $802 a year for a home valued at $500,000. Per Minnesota State law, there will be no additional taxes paid for agricultural land and seasonal recreation property.
According to Cselovszki, in the past three years the district lost over $850,000 in essential programs in order to maintain efficient operations to offset decreased revenues due to a shrinking student population.
For example, Cselovszki said that currently the district operates with two administrators. The superintendent covers the district responsibilities and also serves as the elementary principal. The high school principal is responsible for the student population in grades seven through 12.
“A survey of 20 Southwest Minnesota schools shows the average administrator is responsible for 212 students. At Sleepy Eye, administrators are responsible for 312 students,”?Cselovszki said.
If the referendum passes, Cselovszki said the district would use the funds to make up for the deficit created by the lack of state revenues. “We will continue to operate in a conservative fashion,” he added.
Voters can cast their vote on Nov. 8 at the Sleepy Eye Elementary School from 12 to 8 p.m. An informational meeting will also take place on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.