Wrenshall asks for levy renewal plus $100Wrenshall voters will see two school-related questions on the ballot Nov. 6.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Wrenshall voters will see two school-related questions on the ballot Nov. 6.
The Wrenshall School District is asking voters in the first question to approve renewal of an existing $629 per pupil unit (ppu) operating levy – set to expire this year – which would bring in approximately $200,000 to the school district each year for the next five years. If approved, revenue from the $629 levy would be used to help keep class sizes down, maintain current programming and keep the pool open, Superintendent Kim Belcastro said.
Question Two asks voters to approve an additional $100 per student, for a total of $729 ppu. Question Two can only pass if Question One passes. Both operating levies would be effective for taxes payable in 2013.
According to a school district flyer, if Question Two passes, the district will receive an estimated $30,000 per year to complete the following capital projects:
Year 1 – District will purchase new pool heater and cover; the new pool heater will reduce energy costs and cost the district less to heat the school.
Year 2 – Upgrade computer technology.
Year 3 – Improve indoor air quality of elementary school.
Year 4 – Upgrade recreation building.
Year 5 – Improvements to football field and track areas.
An operating levy is one of the few ways that a school district can raise additional dollars for its operating budget. The state will only grant such funds if the voters of the district choose to support it.
With three referendum open forum meetings already passed, residents have one more chance to come and ask questions at a community meeting. A final open forum is set for 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Brickyard Restaurant in Wrenshall.
“We just want people to understand what they’re voting for and to get out and vote,” Belcastro said.
Estimated yearly tax increases for the referendum questions follow:
- For a $100,000 home, a yes vote to Question One would result in an estimated $8 tax increase; Question Two would result in a $27 tax increase.
- For a $150,000 home, a yes vote to Question One would result in an estimated $12 tax increase; Question Two would result in a $41 tax increase.
- For a $200,000 home, a yes vote to Question One would result in an estimated $17 tax increase; Question Two would result in a $55 tax increase.
While the school district is not allowed to advocate that people vote a certain way in its information – district materials must stick to the facts only – Belcastro said the district has an active parent group that has been “door knocking and sign-waving” to try and build support for the operating levy referendum.
“We’re hopeful,” she said. “Question One is very crucial, because it will help us maintain what we currently offer.”