Shakopee Schools file photo

Shakopee High School during passing time.

This May, 407 random registered voters in Shakopee participated in a survey to offer feedback for Shakopee Public Schools. The participants were asked to grade the school district, offer opinions on a potential operating levy, measure the performance of district leadership and the school board, among other requests.

Representatives from Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors presented the survey findings at the Monday, June 28 school board meeting and said while ratings for the district’s financial management and the school board’s performance were lower than the norm, they were improving. The findings also showed it would be feasible for the district to move forward with a levy that increased taxes for the average homeowner by $150 for the year.

Here were some of the numbers:

Overall performance

Fourteen percent of respondents gave the overall operation of the district an A grade, while 34% gave the district a B grade. Eight percent of participants gave the district a D and F grade.

This year’s survey showed about the same percentage of A grades compared to the 2019 survey, and a lower percentage of B grades.

Compared with the national benchmark, Shakopee showed a higher percentage of A and B grades and a lower percentage of C and D grades.

Financial management

Financial management grades slightly improved since the district’s last community survey. This year, 17% of respondents gave the district A and B grades, 29% gave D and F grades and 38% did not respond. In 2019, 27.8% of respondents gave the district an F, compared to 19.8% of respondents giving the district an F this year.

While perceptions of the district’s financial management have improved somewhat, the responses trended more negative than usual, according to the district’s consultant, Baker Tilly.

Support for operating levy

Support for an operating levy was measured both before and after respondents learned how a levy would affect the district’s programs.

Initial support from respondents showed 62% would support a levy, while 28% opposed and the rest had no opinion.

After learning more about how a levy would affect the district’s programs, 66% of respondents said they would support the levy.

Participants were also asked about potential property tax increases associated with an operating levy for an average-priced home valued at $317,000.

Of those surveyed, 70% said they would be in favor of an $85 tax increase, 58.4% were in favor of a $150 tax increase, 39.3% were in favor of a $215 tax increase and 31.3% were in favor of a $280 tax increase.

Based on the findings, Baker Tilly said an operating levy tax impact of $150 for an average homeowner would be feasible, but other outside factors could change that feasibility, such as the local economy.

Superintendent

Thirty percent of participants gave A and B grades to the performance of Shakopee Superintendent Mike Redmond, while 4% gave D and F grades and 60% could not offer an opinion.

In 2019, 41% of participants gave Redmond A and B grades and just 43% said they could not offer an opinion.

School board

Twenty-three percent of respondents gave the school board’s performance A and B grades, while 17% gave D and F grades. This year’s school board’s grades are slightly lower than the 2019 results, which showed 29% of participants giving the board A and B grades.

About a quarter of the participants said their opinion on the board was improving, which is the same as the 2019 survey. Sixty-three percent of them said their opinion on the board wasn’t changing.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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