On November 5, 2019, residents of Eastern Carver County Schools will be asked to vote on three school funding requests. The referendum requests – which were approved unanimously by the School Board – are based on months of study, input and research to manage growing enrollment and address aging buildings, budget pressures and academic needs.
Question 1: Increase the operating levy
An operating levy increase to continue the strong academic preparation of our students, prevent cuts to programs and services, maintain class sizes and manage growing enrollment. Question 1 must be approved in order for Question 2 to pass.
Question 2: Bond request to address growth & facilities needs
A bond request to build a new elementary school on district-owned land in Chaska, address deferred maintenance and building repair projects across the district , and build a larger bus garage. Question 2 can pass only if Question 1 is approved.
Question 3: Renewal of security & technology levy
A no-tax increase renewal of our existing security and technology levy for 10 years to support school security systems, technology for students and staff, and related professional development and support.
If any of the questions do not pass, there would be negative impacts, such as continued crowding, increased class sizes, deteriorating facilities, teacher layoffs, continued cuts to academic programs and services, cuts to technology equipment and support, and limited updates to school security systems.
What you need to know
- The district is projected to grow by 1,400 students in the next five years, with a majority at the elementary level. This equates to adding one classroom of students per month. The district is already at capacity, or close to it, in most elementary schools. Adequate funding and classroom space helps maintain class sizes to support personalized learning for all students.
- State funding has not kept pace with inflation for more than 15 years. If it had, we would have received more than $6 million in additional funding last year. That gap is projected to get even larger. Critical special education programs cost the district millions more than it receives each year from the state, putting additional pressure on the district’s operating budget.
- The median age of district schools is 34 years. Much like a home, as school buildings age, their maintenance needs increase. Addressing deferred maintenance – such as roofs, parking lots and heating/ventilation equipment – sustains optimal student learning environments and protects the community’s investment in its schools.
- The current bus garage is only half the size needed to properly house and maintain district buses. A larger garage would address space and maintenance needs while making bus service more reliable for students. Coupled with the district decision to bring bus services in-house, the new bus garage will support better service to families, save money, and take better care of our own assets.
- Funding from the district’s security and technology levy has supported secure school entrances, technology infrastructure, and learning devices for both students and staff. This levy is due to expire, which would eliminate funding used to maintain these security and technology systems.