Schools set referendums for November elections

The school boards of both South St. Paul Public Schools and Inver Grove Heights Schools have approved putting two questions each on the upcoming November ballot.

South St. Paul

In South St. Paul, the school board unanimously approved putting two funding questions to voters. 

The first question concerns an increase to the district’s operating levy. The board says an increase would help the district retain teaching staff, fund academic programs, minimize future budget cuts and generally operate schools.

In a press release, the district said it receives about $450 less in per-student voter-approved funding than the average student does in any other school district in Dakota County.

If voters approve the operating levy increase — by $1.3 million, annually — the district would receive $354 more per student.

If passed, the tax impact on the average district homeowner — someone who owns a $178,000 home — would be a $12 increase.

The second question concerns upgrading the district’s technology levy, which would in turn help fund technology for teaching and learning. The district says more funds will help keep computers up-to-date, provide teachers with technology training and give students exposure and access to technology tools.

If the second question were to be approved, there would be no tax increase as it would simply renew an existing levy.

“The bottom line is we need additional funding to provide the learning environment our students need to succeed,” Chris Walker, school board chair, said in a press release. “These requests won’t solve all our financial challenges, but we are very sensitive to our community’s ability to increase their taxes. Our residents know that strong schools make strong communities, and we only ask for their investment when all other avenues have been explored.”


Inver Grove Heights

Officials from Inver Grove Heights Schools, ISD 199, have voted to put two referendum questions on the ballot in November. 

According to the board, the items are intended to increase students’ career and college readiness, help keep the district competitive and to stabilize the district’s finances. 

The two questions regard increasing the operating levy and creating a new capital projects levy.

The capital projects levy, the board says, would provide funds for the purchase of new textbooks, curriculum materials, large music instruments and more.

The proposed levy increase would mean an approximate $78 climb on an average district homeowner — someone with a home valued at $235,000. 

As for the capital projects levy, it would add an annual $50. 

“Our district has quietly ramped up its game,” Matt Schaefer, school board chair, said in a press release. “We believe a reasonable increase in revenue will have a significant and positive impact on student learning.”

More information on the South St. Paul referendums will be available on, and a referendum website is being created.

ISD 199 will have more information on its referendums at

There are no levy or bond items for West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan District 197.


— Hannah Burlingame


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