Questions and answers on the New Ulm referendum
Why is this referendum on the ballot? We are asking to renew an operating referendum that is in place now. Voters in 2012 approved the current operating referendum. By state statute, operating referendums can only be ten years in duration. The current operating referendum is set to expire after this year. We are asking voters to consider renewing the current operating referendum for another ten years, at the current rate. We are not asking for additional funds, only what we are receiving now.
What is the purpose of this referendum? To continue to fund the programs voters supported in 2012: smaller class sizes, additional college and technical school classes and additional access to technology. This operating referendum generates $1.8 million dollars, which is approximately 5.9% of the school’s general fund. Most of the rest of the district’s funding comes from the State of Minnesota, with some from the federal government. Unfortunately, state funding has not kept pace with inflationary increases in educational costs. Additionally, both the state and federal governements have not provided the promised funding for programs they require schools to offer.
What will happen if the referendum is approved? We will continue our work to maintain smaller class sizes, continue to offer more college courses (over 40 college credits can be earned through our high school now) and technical courses (added the CTE Center and advanced technical courses in the past two years), update our technology systems to meet what is needed into the future, and increase access to technology for our students and families.
What will happen if the referendum is not approved? The school board will need to decide what programs may need to be eliminated. There may be a combination of budget reductions in staff and programs, along with spending down our reserve accounts. Anyone with questions about the referendum can visit our website at www.newulmreferendum.org/, or call the district office at 507-233-6180.