NLS 2021 Referendum - Operating Levy November, 2, 2021

  • This website is a work in progress, more information coming soon. (Last Updated July 27, 2021)

    At the Monday, July 26 board meeting, the New London-Spicer School Board unanimously approved a resolution to put a 2-question Operating Levy Referendum on the ballot for the November 2, 2021 election.

    Below is a news release announcing the referendum. This website will be updated very soon to provide more information about the situation, plan, process, and cost of the referendum.


    School board takes steps to address financial challenges

    Approves referendum question for November ballot

    July 27, 2021

    The New London-Spicer School Board unanimously approved putting an operating referendum in front of voters during the November 2 election at their Monday, July 26 meeting. The operating levy referendum impacts district operations and educational programming and would address the district’s financial situation which has seen a declining fund balance and deep annual cuts.

    Voters in the New London-Spicer School District will vote on a two-question referendum to consider implementing a voter-approved operating levy of $1,020 per pupil (student). Unlike most of our neighboring districts, New London-Spicer currently does not have a voter-approved operating levy in place.

    Question 1: The board of Independent School District No. 345 (New London-Spicer) has proposed to increase its general education revenue by $1,020 per pupil. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would be applicable for ten years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.

    Shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 345 be approved?

    Question 2: If School District Question 1 is approved, the school district has also proposed to increase its general education revenue by having the proposed authorization in School District Question 1 increase each year by the rate of inflation.

    If School District Question 1 is approved, shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 345 be approved?

    New London-Spicer Public Schools has traditionally followed a very conservative fund balance policy aimed to operate as lean as possible. However, this financial strategy does not work anymore due to increasing costs and unforeseen expenses. State revenues have not kept pace with inflation over the years which impacts students across the district. This has challenged the school district and created a dangerously low fund balance which has seriously affected programming. 

    If approved by voters, funding received from the 2021 referendum would allow the district to maintain and increase an already robust academic program; increase mental health supports for all students in PreK through grade 12; increase curriculum, instruction, and assessment leadership and oversight to further improve teaching and learning opportunities; maintain technology infrastructure and a 1:1 platform; as well as maintain class sizes. “What this means to students are appropriate class sizes and great academic opportunities,” said Bill Adams, superintendent. “It also means a healthy school district that meets the needs of our families and attracts new students, strengthening our communities.”

    The school district spent months reviewing information, analyzing survey data, and discussing district and building-level needs in anticipation of making this decision. A community-based task force met to review options, and four public community meetings were held throughout the summer to gather information and feedback about potential solutions. The school board initially considered a $1,215.22 per pupil operating levy; the anticipated increase in state education funds shifted the recommendation to a more conservative $1,020 per pupil, which the board ultimately approved. If the referendum passes, the average homeowner ($200,000) would see a tax impact of just under $26 per month.

    “Our previous operating levy in 2020, which was not approved by voters in the November election, involved a tiered approach with three increases over time. We heard from community members in meetings this spring and summer that this approach was confusing and we should ask for what only we need.” said Board Chair Lucinda Dahlberg. “The upcoming referendum questions are more straightforward and address our financial challenges head on to continue our dedication to our students and to strengthen our district for years to come.”

    More information about the planning that led to the referendum request and additional election information will be posted soon at www.nls.k12.mn.us/2021referendum.