Enrollment Growth & School Funding Needs
For the past several months, Eastern Carver County Schools has been looking at ways to manage growing enrollment, aging buildings, budget pressures and academic needs. Staff and the School Board have reviewed the hard work of the Facility Task Force, used community surveys and listening sessions to gather public input, and analyzed budget projections. Following that review, the School Board unanimously approved placing three school funding requests on the Nov. 5 ballot. If all three questions are approved by voters, the tax increase on the average homeowner would be $36 per month ($350,000 value home). 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.
THE ROAD TO A REFERENDUM
- Fall 2018 A study of all buildings owned by Eastern Carver County Schools was completed by a set of engineering and construction firms.
- Oct. 2018 Facility Task Force formed to review facility needs and develop recommendations for the school board.
- Jan. 2019 Updated demographic study on enrollment growth completed by an outside firm projects exponential growth of district by 1,400, mostly elementary level students, in the next five years.
- Jan. Following four months of study, a task force brought a bond referendum recommendation to the school board to fund a new elementary school and larger bus garage, as well as deferred maintenance across the district.
- Jan. – May Budget discussions with staff and School Board.
- Feb. – May Feedback gathered on all funding needs through community surveys, staff input, School Board discussions and a listening session.
- May 20 Legislative session ended.
- Jun. 24 School board approved Nov. 2019 referendum.
- July-Nov. Referendum information shared with the community.
- Sep. 20 Absentee voting begins.
- Nov. 5, 2019 Election Day
LEVIES ARE FOR LEARNING. BONDS ARE FOR BUILDING.
When a school district needs additional funding to operate, maintain or build schools, they must get voter approval through a referendum. Bond funds can only be used for construction and renovations. Operating levies are a legally separate funding stream that voters can approve to support classrooms and educational programs. In 2013 and 2015, our residents approved funding to support our growing district. See how these past referendum funds have been used.