Contact: Bill Adams, Superintendent
For Immediate Release: July 13, 2020
NLS school board approves November referendum
Operating levy to maintain class sizes and academic programs
On July 13, the New London-Spicer Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to place an operating levy question on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
“By most measurements, our school district and our students have been very successful -- but we strive to do better,” said Lucinda Dahlberg, chairperson of the New London-Spicer School Board. “We have the opportunity to protect what we have, address new priorities, and solve financial challenges, while phasing-in the impact on taxpayers.”
New London-Spicer graduates a higher percentage of students than the state average, and students score better than the state average on standardized tests. The district also faces financial challenges. Expenses are increasing at a rate faster than revenues, and because of a low fund balance, the district expects a deficit within two years. If nothing is done, New London-Spicer Schools will need to make significant budget reductions soon, resulting in teacher layoffs, higher class sizes and reduced program opportunities.
“The board recognizes both the financial situation and the need to reset educational priorities to align with 21st-century teaching and learning,” said Bill Adams, superintendent.
The ballot question seeks voter approval of operating levy increases that would provide the district additional revenue to:
- Maintain existing programming and class sizes,
- Create instructional and professional practice improvements,
- Improve and create organizational efficiencies,
- Advance technology, innovation, and security, and
- Secure the district’s financial future.
“The board also is cognizant of the current uncertain economy,” said Dahlberg. “We chose an option recommended by a community task force that also received strong support at community meetings that phases-in the operating levy.”
If the referendum is approved, the district would collect additional revenue in a phased approach over the life of the 10-year levy. The chart below shows the revenue per student that the district would receive, and the tax impact to the owner of a property valued at $200,000.
Amount per student
Monthly tax impact
“We’re not alone in needing additional revenue,” Adams said. “Many of our neighbors have voter-approved operating levies. We currently do not have a voter-approved operating levy, and it presents a challenge for us financially." More information will be shared via direct mail, social media, traditional media, by email and on the district’s website at www.nls.k12.mn.us.