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Why a referendum? 

The main goals of the Farmington Area Public Schools referendum ballot proposal are to improve district financial stability and continue to offer excellent academic programs and learning opportunities to students. The current levy, which was approved by voters in the fall 2015, will expire after the 2025-2026 school year. Expiration of this levy would result in a loss of approximately $5 million per year. This new proposed levy would replace the 2015 levy and allow the district to stabilize its funding and address future needs as costs have continue to increase based on the following three key factors:

  • lack of adequate funding from the state to keep up with increasing costs including transportation, learning resources and operational expenses; 
  • lack of adequate funding from state and federal sources to cover the cost of special education services provided by the district (often referred to as the “special education cross subsidy”) and multilingual learner services provided by the district (often referred to as the “multilingual learner cross subsidy”);
  • lack of adequate funding from the state to cover the cost of newly mandated services to be provided by the district such as the Read Act, Multi-Tiered System of Supports, Unemployment Insurance, and Paid Family Medical Leave.

Why now? 

The decision by the school board to schedule the operating levy election came after months of consideration and discussion. The district has realigned the budget for the past 4 years, including reductions and the use of fund balance dollars, to meet the requirement of having a balanced budget. The amount of reductions and realignments for each year are listed below:

  • 2021-2022 - $700,000 (reduction)
  • 2022-2023 - $1,050,000 (reduction) 
  • 2023-2024 - $2,400,000 (reduction)
  • 2024-2025 - $2,200,000 (a one-time realignment from the unassigned fund balance)

 Because of past reductions and projected deficit, it was important to offer district residents the opportunity to consider increasing funding for the district rather than facing additional reductions in the next few years. 


Tax Impact

In proposing the new levy, the board carefully considered the tax implications for district residents. If approved, school property taxes for district residents with a home valued at $350,000 will increase by about $35.50 per month. However, the long-range tax impact of the operating levy will be significantly reduced in the coming years.
In 2027-2028, a previously-approved bond levy (used to build FHS and remodel RVES to an elementary school) will expire resulting in a reduction in school property taxes of $383 per year or $31.92 per month on a $350,000 home. Residents will see another drop in school property taxes in 2031-2032 when another bond levy (deferred maintenance) will expire resulting in an additional decrease of $683 per year or $56.92 per month.
What’s on the ballot? 

The proposal on the ballot will ask voters to revoke the district’s existing operating levy of $696.15 per pupil and replace it with a new levy of $1,556.15 per pupil. The new levy will provide approximately $11 million ($5 million from previous levy and $6 million from new levy) per year for 10 years.

If the operating levy is approved, the district will be able to maintain current experiences for our learners and begin to look at program enhancements. 
If the operating levy is not approved, the district will need to make additional budget reductions that will increase class sizes, eliminate educational programs and reduce learning opportunities for students. The district will also need to address the lost revenue from the 2015 levy, which will expire after the 2025-2026 school year.

How to Vote

To vote you must:

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be a citizen of the United States;
  • be a resident of the school district and maintain residence in the district for 20 days immediately preceding the election.

The election will take place on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. In Minnesota, you can vote early with an absentee ballot starting September 20, 2024. You can request an absentee ballot online for federal, state, and county elections. Click here to find your polling place.


Learn More

For additional information:

Updated May 14, 2024