Homeowners in the Eastern Carver County School District will be expected to pay approximately $240 a year more with the upcoming referendum. The ECC School District website estimated enrollment for the 2022-23 school year is 10,825. However, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated July 15, 2021, revealed actual district enrollment is only 9,263. This is a decrease of 379 students since the 2019-2020 school year, when the last referendum partially passed.
Why should we believe the School Board’s enrollment projections that more taxpayer dollars are needed for an expanding enrollment population?
Eastern Carver County elementary schools are currently using several classrooms for pre-kindergarten. Parents utilizing the option for a pre-kindergarten schooling in the public school system must themselves pay for pre-K schooling for their children. So, if pre-K is meant to be self-supporting, why has the re-purposing of some elementary school classrooms been necessary?
Furthermore, the school board has not been transparent with the decision on raising $9 million to build an addition to the newly built Carver Elementary School. This addition will be funded using a lease levy, which means the taxpayer will not have the opportunity to approve these funds. This $9 million is in addition to the referendum. Therefore, ECC taxpayers will be paying more in taxes whether or not the referendum passes.
According to the Sept. 13, 2021, school board work session, Eastern Carver County Schools received approximately a $6 million grant from the federal government to deal with district challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic. Yet, the district wants more money.
We as the taxpayers have been sacrificing over the past few years during the COVID outbreak. Our children have been distance learning and/or quarantining while the administration salaries have risen considerably from the 2019-20 school year to 2020-21. For example, The business director earned $195,500 in 2019 — and in 2021 that position received $221,599. This is a raise of over $26,000 in just two years.
Please take these facts into consideration when you vote on Nov. 2. Has Eastern Carver County Schools earned your trust to spend your tax dollars wisely?
Editor's letter: Eyes on Education MN is paying for this letter.