(Last Updated 7/20/20)
We have a plan
Our financial situation is challenging, but it is something we can overcome. The state is helping us with a plan to get out of debt. We have a team of people who are experts in their fields helping us to find ways to achieve financial stability. The school board approved a motion to present district voters with an operating levy referendum during the state primary election on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. We hired a new superintendent who has gone through the referendum process in the Duluth school district. We are confident in his experience and abilities to help us.
- Revoke existing operating levy of $302.50 per pupil
- Replace with new operating levy of $1,406.30 per pupil
- Tax Impact (Residential/Commercial/Industrial/Homestead Farm) Average value home in the district ($100,000): $16.67/mo., $200/yr.
- Minnesota Homestead Credit Refund may provide tax relief for some property owners
- Your voice would be included
- We will conduct a community-driven strategic planning process to determine community priorities within a sustainable budget
What the plan will do
If the referendum is approved, the school district will receive $1,104 per student in additional revenue through local property taxes. Voter approval of the referendum would allow our district to address some of our financial issues while being able to continue to provide quality opportunities for our students and our community.
- Retain priority programs and quality teachers while focusing on keeping class sizes low
- Stabilize our finances
- Conduct a community process that helps us understand priorities
If the referendum is approved
The school district would collect $1,104 per student in additional revenue through local property taxes.
Increase revenue and continue to reduce expenses
We are asking the community to help us enhance our general fund revenue budget by seeking voter approval for an operating levy referendum request estimated to raise approximately $750,000 of revenue.
Preliminary budget reductions included teachers and paras at levels with lower enrollment as well as positions that were eliminated with the closure of a building totaled more than $470,000
If the referendum is not approved
Our negative fund balance will grow larger, and we’ll have to balance our budget through larger budget reductions and try to increase revenue through another operating levy referendum. We’ve been reducing budget already, but since most of our cost is in staffing, we’ll need to reduce staff. The result is higher class sizes and reduced educational programs. We can assume that this will lead to families sending their children to other options, which further decreases our revenue. In the worst case scenario, the district could face dissolution or closure. No single neighboring school district has space for all of our students, so they would be split among many districts. Taxpayers would pay the higher taxes of the neighboring district to which they are assigned, and would still have to pay off GFW’s existing debt.