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Robbinsdale Area Schools to Ask Voters for Increased School Funding to Address Student Needs

Robbinsdale Area Schools to Ask Voters for Increased School Funding to Address Student Needs
Posted on 07/11/2018
Faced with insufficient state funding and increasing educational costs, the District 281 School Board unanimously approved a resolution asking voters to consider a school funding increase on the November 6, 2018 ballot.

If voters approve the request, the funding would support district efforts to maintain Robbinsdale Area Schools’ high-quality academic and co-curricular programming for students. If voters do not approve the request, the district will face continued budget cuts.

“Our staff works hard to stretch every dollar, but with a total of nearly $17 million in budget cuts this year and next year, we simply must find more revenue to maintain the academic quality our students deserve and our community expects,” said School Board Chair John Vento. “We are committed to ensuring every student graduates college and career ready, and we need additional resources to make that happen.”

Factors leading to the School Board’s unanimous decision to request an operating levy increase include:

- State funding has not kept pace with increasing educational costs and needs. If state funding had kept pace with inflation for the past 15 years, the district would receive nearly $620 more per student now than it does.

- Robbinsdale Area Schools has one of the lowest voter-approved operating levies of neighboring and comparable school districts.

- The last time the district asked voters to increase the operating levy was a decade ago, which included automatic annual inflationary increases. 

- We have made millions in budget cuts – including nearly $17 million for 2017-18 and 2018-19. Expenses have exceeded revenue, causing us to be below our School Board-recommended fund balance target of 6.5%.

The funding request would increase the school district’s operating levy by $515 per student, providing a revenue increase of nearly 6 million per year. The levy would be approved for 10 years. 

More information will be available in the next several weeks on the district’s website, through district mailings, emails and in community meetings.