Q: Can voters have a simpler explanation of the two questions on the school referendum ballot?How will my vote affect the school’s programs and how will it affect my taxes?
Q: Can voters have a simpler explanation of the two questions on the school referendum ballot? How will my vote affect the school’s programs and how will it affect my taxes?
A: At the July 21 board meeting, a basic chart was presented showing the effect of the possible votes. The first chart shows impact on the school and the second shows the effect on property taxes. The charts are reproduced here.
How does each possible vote affect taxes? The numbers in the grid reflect the impact on a $200,000 value. Farmland does not pay referendum tax, other properties do. The farm house, garage, and building site acre do pay the referendum tax.
If you want to calculate tax impact on your own assessed value, multiply the value on your tax statement by 0.00067 for Question 1, and by 0.00095 for Question 1 and 2 combined. This will indicate the annual increase from the 2008 tax bill.
Q: How well are Red Wing students achieving? Will the outcome of the referendum affect student achievement?
A: All Minnesota schools received the results of the MCA tests in reading and math three weeks ago. On average, Red Wing students made greater gains in reading and math than did the state. The gains were particularly significant in math.
The district has already started programs to increase the amount of time given to math and reading instruction for many students. More will need to be done as No Child Left Behind asks for all students to meet or exceed proficiency standards by 2014.
One of the results of a successful vote on the second referendum question (in other words, a passage of both questions) will be to strengthen intervention programs that help all students achieve at high levels in reading and math. Funds will also be used to reduce class size.
Q: Since the district refinanced its building loan last year, why don’t they use that savings to fund part of the operating deficit?
A: The state regulates debt service very closely. They receive a copy of every bond we issue and tell us how much to levy to pay the annual debt service. Once the debt is reduced or retired, they do not allow that levy to continue.