No School Thursday - Friday, Oct. 21 - 22
No School Thursday - Friday, Oct. 21 - 22

Please remember that there is no school Thursday or Friday, October 21-22, due to the MEA fall break. Have a great weekend!

Levy Q&A

Questions answered on this page:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an operating levy?
    • Operating levies are funds approved by local residents for their schools. Levies provide additional funding for critical school operations, such as teachers, classroom supplies, instructional materials, other staff and more. The vast majority of Minnesota school districts — including Roseville Area Schools — rely on operating levies to help fund their schools. After state funding, operating levies are the second largest part of our operating budget. Although voters approved bond funds for building construction four years ago, those funds cannot be used to help operate schools. Bonds are for buildings, levies are for learning. 
       
  • Wasn’t there a school funding request a few years ago?
    • Yes, in 2017, school district voters approved building bonds to address long-range facilities needs. By law, bond funds can only be used for repairing, maintaining or constructing buildings. Those funds cannot be used to help operate the schools. The state has established a legally separate funding stream that voters can approve for operating costs called an operating levy. Levies provide additional funding for critical school operations, such as teachers, classroom supplies, instructional materials, other staff and more. The vast majority of Minnesota school districts — including Roseville Area Schools — rely on voter-approved operating levies to help fund their schools. Think of it this way: bonds are for buildings, levies are for learning. We have not asked our community to increase the operating levy since 2006.
       
  • How was the decision to hold a referendum made?
    • The school board unanimously approved placing these requests on the ballot after more than a year of discussion and planning as expenses continue to outpace revenue. Since November 2019, there has been ongoing review of the budget and funding needs by district leadership, with regular budget and levy updates provided to the school board. A random-sample phone survey of residents was conducted in spring 2021  to assess community values and opinions about levy funding. Levy options were reviewed and discussed over a series of school board meetings. On June 22, 2021, the school board unanimously approved the recommendation to place the two school funding requests on the ballot. 
       
  • What does it mean that Question 2 is contingent on Question 1?
    • It means that voters must first approve Question 1 (renew the levy) before Question 2 (increase the levy) can be approved. The levy can’t be increased unless it is first renewed by voters. If voters want to increase the levy, they should vote yes on both questions. If they want to renew the levy but not increase it, they should vote yes to Question 1 and no to Question 2. If they don’t want to renew or increase the levy, they should vote no on both questions.
       
  • What happens if Question 1 passes but Question 2 fails?
    • If Question 1 passes but Question 2 fails, it would lessen major cuts, but would prohibit addressing rising class sizes and result in less student support. This means:
      • A reduction in staff means cuts to areas such as:
        • District and building administration
        • Teachers and paraprofessionals resulting in larger class sizes
        • Student support positions - academic, social/emotional and mental health
        • Building operations including clerical and custodians
      • A reduction of programs such as:
        • Electives/Specialists
        • Co-curricular programs
        • Transportation services
      • An increase in athletic and activities fees
      • Deteriorating financial health
        • Compromised ability to recruit and retain qualified staff
        • Lack of contingency funds for emergencies
        • Ongoing budget cuts
           
  • What happens if both Question 1 and Question 2 fail?
    • If both questions fail, it would result in:
      • Significant financial repercussions, including:
        • Reduction in educational and co-curricular programming
        • Staff reductions
        • Rising class sizes
        • Fewer supports for students.
      • Further deterioration of the district’s financial health including a lack of contingency funds for emergencies
         
  • What happens if both Question 1 and Question 2 pass?
    • If both questions pass, it would allow us to:
      • Lower class sizes
      • Invest in student mental health and social-emotional needs
      • Build upon community investments in career and technical education opportunities, including expanding Career Pathways and postsecondary opportunities
      • Maintain financial stability including adequate contingency funds for the long-term
         
  • Didn’t the state of Minnesota just provide a funding increase for schools?
    • Yes, in late June 2021 the State Legislature passed an education funding bill that provided schools with a funding increase. While this increase is welcome news for schools across the state, it does not make up for nearly two decades of funding that did not keep pace with inflation or increasing costs. Unfortunately, the inconsistency in state support in previous years and the uncertainty of what that support looks like beyond the next two years has added to our ongoing funding challenges.
       
  • Did schools save money during the pandemic?
    • No. Schools were still responsible for educating students, providing child care for essential workers, feeding students, and covering pandemic related costs such as additional cleaning and sanitizing of the buildings and equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for teachers, staff, and students when they were in the buildings. Technology access was also an additional expense and required both people power and a substantial amount of added equipment. 
       
  • Do students who enroll in our schools from outside the district (open enrolled students) cost us money?
    • No. Students who come to our schools from outside the district (open enrolled students) are a net financial benefit to Roseville Area Schools. We gain approximately 500 more students than we lose under open enrollment, and these students bring the same amount of per-student funding to our district as our resident students do. In the 2019 - 2020 school year, open enrolled students generated approximately $5 million in additional revenue to help us hire staff across the district, expand our programming and operate all our schools.
       
  • What else is on the ballot on November 2, 2021?
    • In addition to our two operating levy questions, there are candidates for Roseville Area School District’s School Board (three open seats, five candidates – learn more) and candidates for Falcon Heights City Council (Falcon Heights residents only).
       
  • Do I vote at the same place I voted in November 2020?
    • There are only a few designated locations if you choose to vote early in person (Sept 17 - Nov 1). Learn more about those locations, dates and hours here. If you vote on Election Day, your polling location should be the same as where you voted in November 2020, but it’s easy to confirm where you vote by using the Secretary of State’s pollfinder.
       
  • Why are there two questions on the ballot instead of just one?
    • The district’s current operating levy will expire if not renewed by voters in this election, leading to a loss of about $8 million per year. While the school board determined that a renewal alone would not be enough to meet the district’s funding needs, they felt it was important to separate the levy renewal question from the levy increase question so it would be clear to voters that the district was requesting both a renewal and an increase.
       
  • Is the amount listed on the ballot the amount that property owners’ taxes will increase?
    • No. The amount on the ballot is how much funding would be generated per student in our district - but this amount is spread out over our entire tax base. If both ballot questions are approved by voters, the average homeowner’s taxes would increase about $22 per month ($281,000 median value home). Find more details about tax increase amounts based on property value here.
       
  • Will renters’ taxes increase if the ballot questions are approved?
    • No, it will not increase renters’ taxes because renters do not pay property taxes. If voters approve the two ballot questions, the owner—but not the renter—of the rental property would see a property tax increase.

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