May 29, 2019:
As many of you are aware, we started a process two years ago to assess our district’s building infrastructure and facilities needs.
Before our 2018 Operating Levy election, the board approved the firm School Perceptions to conduct a survey to gain community insight. The survey’s purpose was to receive feedback as well as 1) provide information on the upcoming Operating Levy election and 2) share data with the community on initial facilities options the district was exploring for a potential bond referendum.
We understand that the timing of both the operating levy and survey was confusing for most in our community and wanted to take a moment in this communication to clarify.
The potential bond referendum outlined in the survey, is different than the election for a levy. Communities support two revenue avenues for Minnesota districts through voter-approved referenda: Operating Levies and Bond Referenda. The simplest way to explain the difference between the two voter-approved revenue sources is that Levies are for “learning” while Bonds are for “buildings”.
The election we held last fall was for an Operating Levy to increase our operating dollars by $100 a pupil unit which the board believed we needed at that time.
When communities support an Operating levy, they are providing the district general funds to use for teachers salaries, textbooks, co-curricular programs, transportation, computers, utilities and the general operation of the district.
On the other hand, Bond Referenda provide districts dollars to make improvements to facilities and building infrastructure only. For example, bonds can be used for major construction such as renovation, building an addition, building new schools or for general building projects such as addressing deferred maintenance and ventilation deficiencies. Bonds however, cannot be used to hire teachers, buy textbooks, or for the operation of the district such as utilities.
The survey last fall provided us valuable feedback on what you, our constituents, needed and were thinking in regards to the information we shared. Since March we have been working with a Community Task Force, which is a direct result of your feedback, to assist the district in pulling together a plan to address our most immediate needs.
The Task Force has been meeting regularly and working as a group to thoroughly assess the compiled data and feedback (demographics study, facilities and educational adequacy assessment, community feedback received through engagement meetings and survey results) to determine how to move forward and if necessary, develop a plan together that best works for our community and district.
The members of our Task Force are outlined below and are also listed on our website along with facilities data and feedback compiled over the last two years. Please reach out to them to ask any questions you may have about the process and share your thoughts so that your voice is heard. We will continue to update you regularly.
Feel free to contact me, any of the Red Rock Central board members, or Task Force Committee members with questions and or concerns. You can also talk with our new superintendent, Mr. Todd Lee, on July 1st or later if you prefer.
Mr. Phil Goetstouwers
Task Force Members:
Britta Kelsey Bassett
Glen A. Graff
Kelly Heather Pfarr
Kathy Batalden Smith