On this year’s ballot, 36,000 Minneapolis Public School students are counting on Minneapolis voters to continue to support our schools. The Minneapolis Public School District is asking us to renew the 2008 referendum, and it is imperative that voters support this year’s referendum renewal. Referendum dollars are critical to the success of every student, and voting yes is a true win-win this year.
As legislators representing south Minneapolis, we understand how important it is to have strong schools in the communities we represent. We are both committed to ensuring public education is the best it can be in Minneapolis and throughout the state. Without adequately funded schools, students in Minneapolis simply will not have the best chance to succeed.
Nearly 13% of budget
The current referendum accounts for nearly 13 percent of Minneapolis Public Schools’ budget, which equals $74 million for the 2016-17 school year. These dollars largely go toward managing class sizes in the district. In fact, the 2008 referendum provided funding for 591 classroom teachers.
It’s important to highlight these dollars allocated for schools in south Minneapolis, as they are crucial to their success. For the 2016-17 school year, South High School will receive over $2.8 million from the current referendum; Sanford Middle School will receive over $3 million; and Northrop Elementary School will receive over $800,000. That’s over $6 million for only three schools in south Minneapolis. Imagine if your child’s school were forced to cut millions of dollars from its budget. It would be catastrophic.
Another critical component that the referendum provides is funding for support staff for kids who need it the most. Currently, 82 behavioral and academic specialists and 81 teachers and support staff for English Language Learners have their funding provided for by the referendum. Our city celebrates its diversity and immigrant populations, and all kids deserve every chance to succeed. The referendum is particularly crucial to their success.
Zero increases in property taxes
The impact on property taxes is always an important piece to consider when voting for the Minneapolis Public Schools referendum. Because the referendum on the ballot is calling for a renewal of the current referendum levy, there will be zero increases in property taxes for Minneapolis residents. Property tax rates for the current referendum will remain the same, no new increases.
Voting yes on the referendum renewal is a true win-win, which is something we can’t often say. Our kids will have the support they need to succeed, Minneapolis Public Schools will be able to continue to manage their classes — and residents will not see a tax increase. We encourage Minneapolis residents to join us in voting yes on Nov. 8. Think of it as voting YES for kids.
Want to add your voice?
If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, email Susan Albright at email@example.com.)