A proposed referendum that would establish a tech levy for Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools will once again be put on hold, after the board of education decided Monday night to table the issue due to the pandemic.
While talking budget assumptions for 2021 and the effects of student enrollment on the budget, Board Chair Stacey Ruelle asked if the administration wanted to proceed with the levy as they would have to move quickly to have the referendum ready for the spring.
“Our recommendation at this point is that we maintain it as a strategy as we plan forward, but not for May,” Superintendent Teri Staloch said.
For the levy to reach voters by May, the board would have had to approve the levy by February.
With so many factors that will determine the district’s budget still up in the air due to the pandemic, such as student enrollment and future CARES Act funding, Staloch said there isn’t enough “solid” information available to ask the board to move forward with a referendum at this time.
“We also are still in a pandemic and I think there’s a lot of our families and our community members that don’t know exactly what the financial impact is on them, so we feel it’s a hard time right now to ask for that,” she added.
Staloch noted that roughly two-thirds of the referendums presented last fall failed.
“If that’s any indication just of people’s appetite right now during a pandemic that’s something we’ve got some concerns about and we’re going to know more. We’re going to know more as we get through the next couple of months and we’ll have time to plan should the board want to look at that as a revenue strategy, because it certainly is, for the fall,” Staloch said. “The board would be in a position to make that decision in August. But at this point it is our administrative recommendation that we do not go for a May tech levy.”
During an August 2020 meeting of the board, Marcus Milazzo, director of technology for the district, explained that the areas of focus for the levy would be student and staff devices, instructional software and network infrastructure; and additional technology staffing.
At that August meeting, the board also decided to not to move forward with the levy.