Voters approved both Shakopee Public Schools operating levy questions on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The unofficial election results show 5,060 voters, or 66.35%, voted to pass Question 1, versus 2,566 voters, or 33.65%, against, according to the unofficial results posted by the Minnesota Secretary of State and Shakopee Public Schools.
4,774 voters, or 62.73%, voted to pass Question 2, versus 2,836 voters, or 37.27%, against.
With Question 1 passing, Question 2 results also pass.
These results come nearly a year after the 2020 election, when the proposed levy failed and created an additional $5.4 million in district budget cuts. Prior to this election, Shakopee Public Schools was the only district in the metro area without a voter-approved operating levy in place.
School Board Vice Chair Judi Tomczik said some voters’ minds may have changed going into this year’s election after seeing the failed levy’s impact over the last year.
“To some degree, I think parents of students experienced the repercussions of not having sufficient funds, having larger class sizes and programs that weren’t available,” Tomczik said.
What will funds be used for?
Question 1 passing will generate $7,537,951 in annual operating revenue. The district has said funds generated by Question 1 look to restore some of the $7.45 million in previous budget cuts and eliminate projected structural budget deficits.
Plans include restoring more than 43 teaching positions, two counselors and two paraprofessionals in the district. Class size numbers will also be reduced to what they were in the 2020-21 school year.
Funds generated from Question 1 will also help restore fifth-grade band, cover ACT testing fees and bring back the College in the Schools program.
Question 2 passing will generate an additional $3,481,655 for the district.
These funds will bolster fine arts and student activities, further improve class sizes, shorten walking distances for high school students and improve teacher and staff compensation, according to the district.
Shakopee School Board Chair Kristi Peterson said these restorations will provide more opportunities for the school district and community.
“With the additional support the community has now provided to the school district, it’s going to give us the ability to draw more people into our district and have them feel confident in the education students are receiving,” Peterson said.
When does the levy go into effect?
The levy will go on the tax rolls in the 2022 calendar year, according to district Director of Finance and Operations Bill Menozzi.
Operating revenue generated from the levy will be distributed to the school district in the 2022-23 fiscal year, beginning on July 1, 2022.
When distributed, the district will then be able to start using funds for its restoration and operation goals.
The district’s budget must be approved by the school board before the fiscal year begins. Menozzi said planning for the budget starts this winter.
The school board will canvass votes at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 in the district board room, 1200 Shakopee Town Square, Shakopee. Canvassing will be open to the public.
Superintendent Dr. Mike Redmond said he and the district are appreciative of the community’s support and look forward to helping out the student body, school district and entire Shakopee community.
“We’re going to do everything we can to honor this support from the community … Shakopee cares about their kids and the future of our school district,” Redmond said.