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R-P Referendum detailed at public forum

Fri, Oct 16th, 2009
Posted in Education

With a public audience of eight, representatives from the Rushford-Peterson School Board and administration presented detailed information regarding the operating levy referendum Monday, October 12th, at the R-P Middle School cafeteria in Peterson.

The basics of why the increase in the operating levy is needed, in addition to how the funds are spent, were put forth with a power-point presentation from Superintendent Chuck Ehler and community education director Beth Theede.

• Local taxpayers in over 91 percent of school districts have this type of referendum.

• Current K-12 funding is not enough to cover costs.

• It will support meaningful opportunities for students such as music, band, choir, and art instruction for grades 2-12, daily physical education for elementary students, business courses, school-to-work and community service options, as well as maintain partnerships for post secondary enrollment options.

• It will also maintain the current all-day, every-day kindergarten program for which the state provides only 60 percent of funds.

• The levy will help maintain low class size. The current teacher to student average ratio is 1-19.

• It will continue to help students improve test scores, with the district already boasting some of the highest MCA II test scores in southeastern Minnesota.

• 60 percent of revenue is spent on instructional related services. 13 percent on student support services, eight percent on food and community services, 12 percent maintenance, and seven percent on administration.

District revenues are continuously and constantly changing. The district is currently subject to a 27 percent withholding. Senator Sharon Erickson-Ropes recently expressed to the district that she doesn't know if and where the state will be able to find that 27 percent. The district also loses funding to compensate for flood loss at the end of this year, a $158,000 amount.

With the current levy set to expire June 30th, 2012, the board has opted to ask for a $100 increase to the current $840 per student for a period of 10 years. The net effect per property value is charted below. It is critical that agriculture property owners are aware that their property will be assessed by house, garage, and one acre only.

Taxable Market Increase/ Increase/

Value Year Month

$50,000 $18 $1.50

$100,000 $35 $2.92

$125,000 $44 $3.67

$150,000 $53 $4.42

$200,000 $71 $5.92

The next public forum regarding the referendum is scheduled for Monday, October 26th, at 7:00 pm, in Rushford at the high school theatre. The public is highly encouraged to attend.

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