The Robbinsdale school board has decided to ask voters to renew an existing operating levy and approve a new one to help pay for the district’s technology needs.
Election Day will be Nov. 4.
If approved, the technology levy would provide about $3.5 million a year to increase technology access for students and staff, support personalized learning, and enhance technology currently used by both teachers and students.
Robbinsdale is one of just a few school districts in the metro area that currently do not have a technology levy in place. If the request is approved, the owner of a $175,000 home would see a tax increase of about $6 a month, according to the district.
“We have a comprehensive, research-based plan to provide effective personalized teaching and learning practices, improve communication, and streamline administrative operations; however, we don’t have the financial resources to fully implement this plan,” said Dennis Beekman, the district’s executive director of technology. “Asking our voters to approve a technology levy is the only way we can provide our students and staff with the technology tools they need to succeed.”
The levy renewal would not raise taxes. It currently provides about $20 million a year to pay for things like classroom supplies, staff salaries, maintenance, transportation and other operating costs.
Minnesota schools have until Aug. 22 to decide whether they will hold a November referendum.
Other west metro school districts that are mulling over a decision about whether to hold a referendum include Eden Prairie.
For the past several months, that city’s school board members have been discussing whether to ask voters to consider renewing its operating levy of $1,306 per pupil or renewing that levy with some kind of increase.
Last year, Eden Prairie voters shot down the district’s request to increase the levy to $2,269 per pupil but approved a technology levy.
If the voters approve the current operating levy without an increase, the school district is expected to face a deficit for the 2015-2016 school year. The current levy expires at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. □