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Voters Do Not Approve Shakopee Public Schools Funding Request
November 4, Shakopee, MN -- Local voters did not approve the Shakopee Public Schools operating levy request in the November 3rd election with 46% yes (10,776 votes) and 54% no (12,697 votes).
The phased-in levy request was in response to a number of financial pressures that have been challenging the District’s ability to maintain the quality education students deserve and the community expects. These pressures include state funding that has not kept pace with inflation, unfunded mandates and the lack of a voter-approved operating levy. Operating levies provide funding for critical school costs such as teachers, classroom supplies, custodians, instructional materials and more. The vast majority of Minnesota school districts have a voter-approved operating levy.
“We worked hard to develop a proposal that balanced budget cuts on the district side with a levy request on the community side, and we spent months gathering community input on our plan,” said School Board Chair Kristi Peterson. “We now need to talk with our community about why they were not able to support the levy, and what kind of district they want moving forward.”
The district will now move to implement the $5.4 million in budget cuts for 2021-22 previously approved by the School Board in the event of a levy failure. These cuts are in addition to $2 million in budget cuts that were needed even if the levy request had been approved. Cuts will impact the entire district and include: classroom teachers, class size increases, staff at all levels, academic support positions, 5th grade band and middle school athletics.
“I’m sure the results of the voting on the operating levy are incredibly disappointing to our students and staff. I also know our community is dealing with the economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Superintendent Mike Redmond. “In spite of the limitations on our resources, we will continue to do our best to serve our students and community.”
If voters had approved the request, the operating levy and resulting revenue would have been phased-in over four years: $400 per student in 2021, $300 per student in 2022, $200 per student in 2023 and $100 per student in 2024. The tax increase would also have been phased in, with no net tax increase until 2022 due to building debt that was being paid off.
More information about the levy is available at ShakopeeLevy2020.org. Note that the election results are unofficial until certified by the School Board on November 12, 2020.