School District Holding Levy Presentations

School District Holding Levy Presentations Click to Enlarge Photo: Jake Judd (KNSI)

(KNSI) - With early voting underway for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District's operating referendum, the district is making its pitch for the referendum during a series of community presentations.

The first presentation is on Tuesday at 7 pm at Pine Meadow Elementary.

The district is asking voters to approve a $1.77 million levy over the next 10-years. The tax would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $148 a year.

It's the same levy the district asked voters to approve in 2018. That levy failed.

In April, the school board approved making $1.2 million in budget reductions by making staff cuts, changing bus routes, and salary freezes. They also raised activity fees by 50-percent to bring in another $400,000.

The district says they're looking at making cuts or raising revenue for the next several years without an operating referendum.

If the referendum fails again, the district could make more cuts, change its open enrollment policy to allow more students into the district (which would bring in more money from the state), or they could raise activity fees again.

According to the school's administration, voters were told the district would need an operating referendum to have enough money to operate the new high when voters approved the building in 2016.

The new high school opened in September.

The district says the reason they would need to go for an operating referendum for the new high school is that state law doesn't allow a district to collect taxes to run a building that doesn't exist. So, the district couldn't ask for funding until the building was built.

District residents can cast a ballot now at the Sartell-St. Stephen School Administration building, 212 3rd Avenue North in Sartell, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.

Voters will head to the polls on November 5, at Sartell city hall, St. Stephen City hall, or Celebration Lutheran Church.

Residents will get a letter telling them where they will need to go to vote.

The other presentations are:

Wednesday, October 2 at 5:30 pm - St. Stephen City Hall

Monday, October 7 at 7 pm - Oak Ridge Elementary

Wednesday, October 9 at 7 pm - Sartell High School

Wednesday, October 23 at 7 pm - Sartell Middle School

Thursday, October 24 at 9 am - Sartell Senior Connection - Community Center.

For more information on the levy, click here.