☰ MENU

Frequently Asked Questions

Referendum 2014
Frequently Asked Questions
Last Update 7/31/2014

Table of Contents

Summary
General Questions
Technology
Finance and Budget
Voting

Summary

On November 4, Robbinsdale Area School District residents will be asked to vote on two school funding requests:

Question 1: Renew Existing Operating Levy

  • No tax increase if approved by voters
  • Helps maintain lower than average class sizes
  • Funds daily school and district operations such as classroom supplies, staff salaries, building maintenance and transportation
  • Provides $20 million per year, which is the equivalent of 225 teachers or the entire staffing costs of five elementary schools

 

Question 2: Add a Technology Levy

  • Robbinsdale Area Schools is one of the few school districts in Hennepin County that does not currently have a voter-approved capital project levy to provide funds for technology
  • Technology is necessary to adequately prepare students to thrive in our digital world and join a highly-skilled 21st century workforce
  • Funds would be used to increase technology access for students and staff, support personalized learning and expand technology for teaching and learning
  • A technology levy would provide a stable source of funding to enable the school district to fully implement its comprehensive, research-based technology plan to support student learning
  • If approved, the tax impact on the median value district home ($195,000) would be $7 per month


General Questions

Q: How will the money from Question 1 (operating levy renewal) be used?

A: The existing referendum levy generates about $20 million for the general operating budget, which is 13% of the budget. These funds cover daily school and district operations such as classroom supplies, staff salaries, building maintenance and transportation. This revenue would sustain the current comprehensive educational program in the district and maintain good class size ratios, with no tax increase to homeowners.

Q: What happens if Q1 does not pass?

A: The school district would need to begin planning for $20 million in budget reductions that would be necessary for the 2016-17 school year. $20 million is the equivalent of 225 teachers or the entire staffing costs of five elementary schools.

Technology

Q: What are Chromebooks?

A: A Chromebook is a personal computer that runs Chrome OS as its operating system. The device is designed to be used while connected to the Internet and support applications on the web. A Chromebook has an 8 hour battery and connects to the Internet within 8 seconds. It has built in Wi-Fi but has functionality offline as well.

Q: What is the PERL 1:1 initiative?

A: The PERL 1:1 initiative provides Chromebooks to support teaching and learning for students in fifth grade. In the 2014-2015 school year, the program will expand through eighth grade. The purpose of providing students with their own device is so  teachers can help personalize learning and integrate technology into the learning process.

Q: What is the benefit of technology for grades K-4?

A: Robbinsdale Area Schools Technology Plan provides benefits for all students and continues the implementation of technologies  the district has found to have a positive effect on student learning, such as:

  • Continue implementation of SMART Boards, data projection, classroom sound systems and assessment devices for classrooms.  
  • Expand the use of integrated learning systems to manage remediation and enrichment specifically in reading and math.
  • Expand the use of video conferencing to enhance student access to global experts and experiences.
  • Increase e-books as part of a comprehensive media center and guided reading resource collection.
  • Subscribe to e-textbooks as an interactive, searchable and customizable instructional resource.
  • Develop, align and manage online supplemental learning objects and content that support and extend district curriculum.
  • Facilitate personalized learning by building unique learner profiles, managing custom learning pathways and monitoring proficient-based progress using a Learning Management System.
  • Provide additional classroom-based wireless computers and tablets for student use.
  • Upgrade out-dated classroom and school computers.


Q: What happens if question two doesn’t pass?

A: The school district’s technology plan – which details how technology will support student learning – would have to compete for funding with other basic district capital needs, such as security equipment, textbooks, roofs, parking lots and other building maintenance. Without a fully-funded technology plan:

  • The school district would struggle to provide updated computers and other technology for students and staff. Equipment would become outdated, slow or unusable with increased repair expenses.
  • Students would not have access to the same opportunities that neighboring school districts offer, resulting in a technology gap.
  • Student access to online classroom resources and tools would be limited.
  • Staff would be limited in the amount of attention they could provide individual students and would not have the same level of information about each student’s progress.
  • Cuts would need to be made to the district’s budget in order to maintain basic levels of technology.
  • There would be slower turnaround times for family and community requests of teachers and district staff.


Q: Why do we need more money for technology?

A: Technology is a vital tool for students to be career and college ready. Technology-literate graduates are prepared to thrive in our digital world and join a highly skilled 21st century workforce. However, Robbinsdale Area Schools is one of the few Hennepin County school districts without a voter-approved capital project levy to provide funds for technology. A technology levy would provide a stable source of funding for the technology tools that students and staff need to succeed in today’s digital world.

Finance and Budget

Q: Why is the school district making two funding requests?

A: School districts throughout the state rely on levies to support operations, and most levies require voter approval. These two levy requests are based on a thoughtful, deliberative process. The School Board spent several months reviewing district finances, technology needs, community surveys and funding options before deciding to unanimously place two funding requests on the ballot. The operating levy is a no tax increase renewal and the technology levy is lower than most neighboring districts. The school board has made tough decisions, making more than $18 million in budget reductions since 2000-01 to maintain a balanced budget.

Q: How will this impact my taxes?

A: If approved, the tax impact on the median value district home ($195,000) would be $7 per

Voter Request Monthly Tax Increase*
Q1: Renew existing operating levy $0
Q2: Add a technology levy $7


* Tax increases are based on the $195,000 median value home in the district

Voting

Q: Where do I vote?

A: Find your polling location by visiting the Secretary of State website or call 763-504-8038.

You can vote early by using an absentee ballot, instead of voting in person at the polling place on Election Day. You can vote absentee by mail, in person at your local City Hall, or by having a person you know pick up and deliver your ballot for you (under certain circumstances). Ballots will be ready starting September 19 for the November 4 election.

Cities will be responsible for the November 4 election. If you have additional questions, please contact your city hall:

 
More information about voting in Minnesota: