At its July 20 meeting, the Shakopee School Board unanimously approved placing a school funding request on the November 3, 2020 ballot. If approved by voters, the request would phase-in an operating levy over four years, providing funding for school district operations such as staff, instructional materials, classroom supplies, and utilities. Because of building debt that is being paid off, there would be no net school tax increase in 2021, with an estimated increase of $12 per month in 2022 for the average homeowner ($280,000 value home). The tax impact would increase $8 per month in 2023 and $4 per month in 2024 before settling at $0 per month from 2025 through 2030. Read the full press release here.
Our primary focus as a school district is on providing the highest quality learning possible, while we support our staff and our parents as key partners in this work. As good stewards of our community’s schools, we also need to provide high quality financial management.
A Shared Partnership
Education funding is a shared partnership between state and federal governments and local communities. In Shakopee, 81% of our general fund revenue comes from the state, 17% comes from our community, and 2% comes from the federal government.
Unfortunately, state funding - which is the lion’s share of our revenue - is not keeping pace with inflation or increasing educational needs and costs.
Where the Money Goes
In Shakopee Public Schools - as in all school districts - our biggest investment is in our people. Almost 80 percent of our general fund budget pays for the incredible people who educate our community’s children and who support that education in various ways - the teachers, custodians, school leaders, paraprofessionals, food service workers and others.
Specifically, our general fund dollars are used to cover the following areas:
How Do We Compare?
We do our best to be as efficient as possible while providing the quality education our students deserve and our community expects. In fact, we receive less funding per student than both the metro and state averages - and also spend less per student - while still maintaining our quality programs and services.
One reason our revenue is lower is because we are the only one of comparable districts in our area without a voter-approved operating levy - which means we don't have the additional financial support that many communities provide to help operate our schools. Operating levies provide critical funding for classrooms, instruction and other operating costs.
Doing More with Less
We are providing great value for taxpayer money. We work hard to live within our means and have made a number of reductions over the past four years. Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, our district will be facing funding challenges in which expenditures will be greater than revenues. This situation is unsustainable.
School districts maintain fund balances for financial stability, cash flow and unanticipated expenses. We have worked hard to rebuild the fund balance in recent years - however, the fund balance for the 2020-21 school year is expected to decrease by $2.5 million to cover increasing expenses.
Additional effort is required to rebuild the fund balance to a healthier level while maintaining our programs and services. There are three options to rebuild the fund balance: reduce expenses, increase revenue through an operating levy, or a combination of the two.
Visit our district Finance Department website for more detailed information about our budgets and financial reports.
Additional Background Materials
Click here to watch the district's financial outlook video presentation. (20-minute video explains the district’s financial context and presents various options being considered to address the challenges ahead.)
Click here to view the district's financial outlook presentation. (PDF version of the presentation that outlines the district's financial context and options being considered.)
Click here to watch the State of the District video from Superintendent Redmond. (7-minute video recaps the district’s COVID-19 response, looks ahead to summer and fall, and gives a quick overview of financial challenges.)
- We are the only one of comparable school districts without a voter approved operating levy.
- Shakopee ranks 11th out of 12 comparable school districts in beginning teacher salaries, and Shakopee ranks in the bottom quarter of those districts in terms of teacher salaries across a teacher’s career.
- If state funding had kept pace with inflation since 2003, Shakopee Public Schools would have received more than $5 million in additional state aid in the 2019-20 school year alone.
- We pay nearly $9 million annually for unfunded mandates that are not being reimbursed from the State or Federal government as promised.
- We are working hard to live within our means, and have made a number of reductions over the past four years.
- Our school district has a lower tax rate than many neighboring districts due to the amount of commercial property in Shakopee - which means we get more bang for our taxpayer buck.
- We received the International Designation for Excellence in Financial Reporting for four consecutive years.