Column: You asked, we tracked down the answerQ: What will happen if the first referendum ballot question of $936.41 per pupil is approved?
Q: What will happen if the first referendum ballot question of $936.41 per pupil is approved?
A: The first question is designed to prevent further cuts to the school budget and leave the district at a zero fund balance at the end of the referendum time period.
The current referendum amount of $600 was intended to reduce the severity of cuts, but annual personnel layoffs were still planned in the five-year model.
Due to budget cuts, Red Wing class sizes are higher than neighboring schools. The amount on the first question will freeze but not reduce current class size.
Q: What calculations are used to come up with $936.41?
A: The district uses local enrollment projections and a projected state aid increase of 1.5 percent per year in projecting revenue. We use a 3 percent inflation factor for expenses.
Some of our major expenses include personnel costs, utilities, transportation and instructional materials. This amount also removes the district’s operating debt in three years.
Q: What improvements in the school can happen if an additional $175 per pupil is approved on the second ballot question?
A: The district will make reductions in elementary school class size. Student support services in counseling and social work will be strengthened. Intervention programs in reading and math will be sustained over the next five years.
Q: Do I have to vote on both questions?
A: Question 2 actually links to question 1; in other words, question 2 cannot pass unless question 1 does. The language is as follows for question 2:
The board of Independent School District No. 256 (Red Wing Public Schools) has also proposed to increase its general education revenue by an additional $175 per pupil. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would be applicable for five years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.
If School District Ballot Question 1 is approved, shall this increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 256 also be approved?
The district recommends voters make their opinion known on both questions. Question 1 can pass without question 2; question 2 cannot pass without question 1 passing.