The Nov. 5 Referendum will ask residents of E. Carver Co Schools to vote on funding to address budget gaps and growing enrollment in the district. There will be 3 questions on the Nov. 5 ballot: 

  • Question 1 is a $550 per pupil operating referendum for $5.6 million for 10 years.
  • Question 2 is $111.7 million 20 year bond referendum.  
  • Question 3 is a Security and Technology Referendum at 4.947% of Net Tax Capacity which equates to $4.4 million for 10 years.   

These three questions have NOT changed since the School Board made the decision to go out for the referendum in June 2019, yet there has been some confusion on the total cost of the referendum because of reporting changes by Southwest Media News.  

In the June 20 edition of the Chaska Herald and Chanhassen Villager — and as it has done in many previous school referenda — the editor chose to combine the three questions and report them as a sum, totalling $121.7 million dollars.

Question 1          $5.6M
Question 2      $111.7M
Question 3          $4.4M
Total                $121.7M

The editor then changed the manner in which the referenda questions were summarized and reported a new total in the October 10 edition of both newspapers. This time, taking Questions 1 and 3 annual amounts, times the total number of years of the levies. 

Question 1          $5.6M x 10 years = $ 56.0M
Question 2                                          $111.7M
Question 3          $4.4M x 10 years = $ 44.0M
Total                                                    $211.7M

If residents look at the sum over the 10-year period, these figures are correct.  However, the school district will NOT receive “lump sums” of funding for Questions 1 and 3, but rather the amounts of $5.6M and $4.4M for these two levies would be received on an annual basis over 10 years.  Additionally, it is important to know that taxpayers do NOT pay taxes on these “lump sum” amounts all in one year. 

School Districts across the state communicate referendum questions in the same manner as E. Carver Co. Schools does, and has done, in past and present elections. We follow legal requirements for referendum ballot language.  

In summary, the district did NOT increase or change its reporting of the amount of the referendum, but rather, the newspaper chose to report it in a different manner than it has in past school referendum elections. This has caused questions to arise about the total amount that the district is asking voters to consider in the November election.  

If voters approve the referendum requests on the Nov. 5 ballot, the average homeowner ($350,000 home) would see a tax increase of about $36 per month.  Voters can see that school district taxes have actually declined over the last six years, even with the 2013 and 2015 voter approved referenda (more than 14% decline on the average $350,000 home). See Levy Impact Comparison chart here.