Polls are Open in St. Michael-Albertville School District Levy Vote
St. Michael Patch will have wall-to-wall coverage today of the levy referendum, with polls closing at 8 p.m. We will have unofficial results tonight, and a live chat with you, our Patch readers. Here's the election in a nutshell.
Polls are now open as St. Michael and Albertville residents, as well as portions of Otsego and Monticello Township, are being asked to chip in a little more for the St. Michael-Albertville School District (ISD 885).
Here’s a brief look at today’s ballot.
"The board of Independent School District No. 885 (St. Michael-Albertville Schools) has proposed to revoke the school district's existing referendum revenue authorization of $500 per pupil and to replace that authorization with a new authorization of $695 per pupil. The proposed new referendum revenue authorization would be applicable for ten years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.
Shall the school district's existing referendum revenue authorization be revoked and the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 885 be approved?
BY VOTING 'YES' ON THIS BALLOT QUESTION, YOU ARE VOTING FOR A PROPERTY TAX"
The district estimates the levy increase, raising the per pupil payment from $500 to $695, would generate about $1.2 million more per year than the current levy. It would run over the next 10 years, as any operations levy would. On a $200,000 home, this would equal out to $88 per year or an additional $7.33 per month over what residents currently pay.
The breakdown for how those funds would be used:
• $500,000 per year to make up for lost federal funding, which will take effect next year
• $300,000 to maintain current technology offerings and keep it up to date
• $300,000 to $400,000 to cover inflationary costs like utility and transportation costs as well as to perform maintenance and repairs on school buildings.
The guidelines were determined by a levy committee made up of board members, staff, teachers, parents and general community members. The committee suggested this levy amount because of its prudency, sticking to the bare bones needed to keep the district functioning as-is.
Where do I vote?
If you are a resident of St. Michael or Hanover, you will vote at St. Michael-Albertville Middle School East.
Residents of Albertville, Monticello Township (the area between Albertville and Monticello) and Otsego (within STMA boundaries) will vote at St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West.
Those for the levy, who would vote in favor of the tax increase, believe the district manages its money well, and point to statistics that show St. Michael-Albertville well below other districts of comparable side in spending and costs. The believe the district needs to raise additional local funds to improve technology, replace lost state and federal dollars, and continue to operate the eight district buildings at a high level.
Those arguing against the levy increase have pointed to the current economy, and how other families and businesses have found ways to operate without increasing income or revenue. The opposition believes the technology in the schools is currently adequate, and that the local levy could be an indicator of a greater problem–much needed reform in education funding overall. Those who would vote “no” also believe the district should serve out the existing operating levy, passed in 2003-2004, before trying to approve a new levy.