Property tax levy may increase next year

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school board approved a preliminary annual operating levy recently that will raise about $34.9 million for the 2015-16 school year.

The proposed property tax levy, payable in 2015, would be a 4.1 percent increase from this year. The property tax increase for individual property owners will vary.

Officials say that because growth in the tax base is expected, taxpayers may not see an increase in the school tax portion of their statement.

For 2014, taxpayers saw a decrease of 2.25 percent, mostly because the Legislature took action in 2013 to equalize referendum funding for districts.

The district’s annual “Truth in Taxation” hearing will take place during the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the senior campus commons (upper level) of Diamondhead Education Center, 200 West Burnsville Parkway, Burnsville.

West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan

STEM program starts at Pilot Knob

Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School will be among the first elementary schools in the country to implement the Project Lead the Way Launch program, a move that will introduce the district’s youngest students to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

This is the first year the program is being offered nationally.

Project Lead the Way curriculum is already in place at Henry Sibley High School, Heritage E-STEM Magnet School and Friendly Hills Middle School.

The program encourages kids to solve problems and to try again and learn from mistakes if something doesn’t work the first time, officials said.

The program uses iPads at every grade level and for each unit.

In addition to regular STEM curriculum, Pilot Knob students will now also receive an hour of specialized STEM instruction with the school’s magnet facilitator.


Kids encouraged to vote next month

On Nov. 4, kids in Shakopee are encouraged to go to the polls to cast their own “Kids Voting” ballot for federal, state and local races.

This is the 11th year of the program in Shakopee. Since 2004, nearly 16,000 students have cast a ballot.

“Kids Voting” is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that aims to prepare the next generation to be citizens. The group also provides teachers with lessons and activities related to civics, democracy and the importance of participation in the political process.

Voting takes place at official polling locations. If you are interested in being an election day volunteer, contact Paulette Rislund at prislund@shakopee.k12.mn.us.

To learn more about the initiative, go to www.kidsvotingshakopee.org.

Staff reports