what is included in the august 14th referendum?
Local residents will vote on two questions. Question #1 authorizes up to $35 million to build a new intermediate school for Grades 3, 4, and 5. Question #2 authorizes up to $4 million for repairs and improvement to the existing Trojan Field complex.
we just voted on a referendum - why is there another one so quickly?
The space needs in Worthington Public Schools are significant. Once local residents showed that they did not support building a new high school, the school board looked for a different, less expensive strategy to add classroom space to accommodate our continued enrollment growth.
how was this plan developed?
ISD 518 held several community meetings with supporters and opponents of the previous referendum. Based on these meetings, the School Board decided there was broader support for an intermediate school strategy than offering another proposal for a new high school.
i thought we needed a new high school. why did the plan shift to a cheaper intermediate school?
Last year, the school board concluded that building a new 1,100-student high school, followed by shifting grade levels within existing buildings, was the best way to address the long-term space needs of ISD 518. However, it became clear through the outcome of the vote and from subsequent public input that this solution was more than the taxpayers were willing to support. An intermediate school built for 900 students can also address the need for space for several years, if we transition the middle school to Grades 6-8 and turn Prairie Elementary into a PreK – Grade 2 school.
where will the intermediate school be located?
On the 155+ acre parcel of District-owned land located south of the existing middle school.
if the plan is approved, will it take care of the problem for a while?
Worthington is one of a small percentage of school districts in Minnesota that is seeing aggressive growth in student enrollment. Building a new intermediate school will address space needs in the short run, but the school board will need to continue to monitor enrollment trends to determine if more space will be needed in the next 8-10 years.
can a good intermediate school be constructed for $35 Million?
The actual project costs are currently estimated to be $36.4 million. The District has committed funding anything over $35 million from the school district’s fund balance – the principal for the bonds for Question #1 will not exceed $35 million.
does isd 518 have a fund balance in its operating budget?
Yes. The school board tries to meet or exceed standards for careful budgeting with public dollars. In recent years, state officials have provided limited budget increases and delayed payments to schools, so a fund balance helps protect the school district from the uncertainty of state funding.
The school board could pay cash by using the fund balance for the athletics work. However, board members determined that local residents should be given the option of protecting the fund balance and using bonds to pay for these repairs and improvements immediately.
why is a question on athletic facilities also included on the ballot?
Every resident’s tax situation is different. However, for a person who owns a $125,000 house, Question #1 will result in a monthly tax increase of $7.94 per month compared to this year's taxes, and Question #2 will result in an additional $0.90 per month of property taxes.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT ON MY TAXES IF THESE QUESTIONS PASS?
Open enrollment does not cause our space problem, as our resident student population is growing quickly. We would need to address these space issues even if we didn’t have as many students enrolling from neighboring cities and townships. In addition, every student that open enrolls brings with their full state funding for classroom education. ISD 518 experiences a net gain in open enrollment, meaning that more students open-enroll into our District than open-enroll out of our District.
IS OPEN ENROLLMENT FROM OTHER DISTRICTS THE REASON WE NEED MORE SPACE - IF SO, WHY DON'T WE JUST END OPEN ENROLLMENT?
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PROPOSAL?
It will be held at the same time as the statewide primary election, using the same polling locations. Early voting begins on Friday, June 29th.