2020 Bond & Levy

      2020 RSD Bond & Levy Information   

Rochester School District is asking voters to consider two funding measures to help us reach our mission of preparing students for lifelong learning, rewarding careers, and productive citizenship. 

    Why is RSD running a bond and levy?  

School districts rely on voter-approved funding measures to cover costs not funded by the state. All funds approved by Rochester School District voters stay in our community for our students and our schools.

The 2020 Levy and Bond will:

  • Increase student safety;

  • Ensure students have access to quality learning environments, engaging opportunities, and strong academic programming across all our schools; and

  • Provide 21st century learning spaces and technology so our students can continue to compete with students from other districts for living-wage jobs; and

  • Ensure students are career and college ready at graduation and are well prepared to pursue a skilled trade, community college, university, or military service.

      What is the difference between            
      a bond and a levy?                                           

 RSD Bonds are for Building Levies are for Learning Logo

Levies support district and student programs and help pay for many of the day-to-day operational costs of schools. For our district, we renew our levy every four years.

Bonds allow districts to borrow money up front for major construction projects, and the debt is paid off over 20 years. Our last bond was approved in 2000 and will be paid off in 2020. 

 

      How were the bond priorities            
      established?                                                   

Input was gained from the community volunteer Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) based on the result of community surveys.

blue house icon with family standing in front

      What will the CONSTRUCTION          
      bond provide?                                                  

 What the bond will provide information image.
 

      What will the REPLACEMENT              
      levy provide?                                                     

What will the levy provide image.

Why do schools still rely on Educational  Programs and Operations Levies after      the state added funding through the           McCleary lawsuit?                                                 

 

While the intention was good, there were unintended consequences to the new state funding formula.   Most importantly, it does not account for the loss of large amounts of local levy money we use for co-curricular activities, special education, counselors, nurses, safety and more.

The main factors that cause the Rochester School District and many others to lose funding under the new model include:

  1. Funding for teacher salaries. Historically, the state-funded salaries based upon the experience level of the teaching staff they actually hire. Now the state funds all teacher positions based on statewide average experience. That means the funding for salaries in districts with more experienced teachers will come up short.
  2. Reduction of local levy capacity. RSD is now limited to collecting $2.50 per $1,000 assessed valuation. Historically, districts have been able to ask voters to approve a levy based upon a percentage of state and federal funding. This provided access to more local money as student needs increased.  This $2.50 cap is far below what they have historically collected.  In 2016 Rochester voters approved a levy rate of $3.79.   

The increase in state McCleary funding does not make up for the loss of other funding resources.  Therefore, School districts continue to rely on local funding to bridge the gap between what the state pays and actual operational expenses. 

Click here for more information about the McCleary decision and how it impacted school funding.  https://schoolfunding113.org/q-a/

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