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District 88 preparing for referendum on Nov. 2

Three questions on ballot

October 1, 2010
By Kremena Spengler Staff Writer

NEW ULM -District 88 is launching an effort to inform the public about the three-question school referendum this November, Superintendent Harold Remme told the school board last week.

More specifically:

Informational meetings are being set up with various service organizations in New Ulm, ahead of the vote, he said.

The district website is posting a "frequently asked questions" document about the referendum on its website. (The section was up and running this week.)

A video is being prepared to be aired on local cable channels with referendum information.

The Journal will facilitate "Ask Harold" article for publication.

Required tax payer informational letters will be mailed Oct. 5-18.

A public informational meeting will be held in the board room, 7-9 p.m. Oct. 25.

The frequently asked questions document, which can be downloaded from the district site at covers a variety of issues.

It answers the following questions: how are school districts funded in Minnesota; does state funding provide adequate funding for education; does District 88 access funding through the levy referendum process; do other school districts have levy referendums in place to supplement state funding; has District 88 made budgetary reductions in the past; what has been the impact of staffing reductions due to limited funding; is District 88 a high spending school district; why will three different ballot questions be asked for voters to consider; has the school district received federal stimulus funds in recent years; how are taxes levied for an operating levy referendum; does the school district have a fund balance that can be used instead of requesting additional tax revenues; why doesn't the school district consolidate with a neighboring school district; could school funds be saved if the school district shared services with other districts or governmental agencies; what will operating levy revenues be used for; what programs and services will be cut or reduced if the levies do not pass; what challenges are on the horizon for Minnesota schools; how can the school district even consider asking voters for additional funding given current economic conditions; and where and when can additional information be obtained.

Separate documents, which can also be downloaded, describe the tax impact of each ballot question and provide a list of polling places.

Voters are expected to vote on three separate levy questions.

The first would extend a current school levy expiring in 2011. It would provide $453.83 per pupil unit per year over ten years. Based on an estimate of 2,250 pupil units, it would raise about $1 million in funding.

The second levy question would be for a levy equal to $595 per pupil unit. This would provide about $1.3 million a year over the next ten years. The money would help maintain school programs and operations.

The third levy question would raise $150 per pupil unit, or about $325,000 a year. This money would be dedicated to improving the district's technology infrastructure.



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