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FAQ - Minneapolis Public Schools’ 2016 referendum

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FAQ - Minneapolis Public Schools’ 2016 referendum

When is the election?
Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Where do I vote?

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., November 8, on Election Day. You can find your polling place by visiting the City of Minneapolis voting website. Early (absentee) voting begins Sept. 23 and ends Nov. 7. To request an absentee ballot application or for additional information, please contact the City of Minneapolis at 311 or 612-673-3000.

What are we voting on?
Minneapolis voters will have the option to extend or discontinue an existing property tax referendum that is scheduled to expire after the 2016-17 school year. If approved, the operating referendum funding will be used to manage class sizes and provide supportive services and activities for students.  

What is an operating referendum and what does it do?
An operating referendum is part of school funding in Minnesota. Nearly all school districts rely on referendum revenue to cover part of the cost of education. In Minneapolis, these funds would be used to manage class sizes and provide supportive services and activities for students. 

Operating referendum questions ask voters to authorize a specific amount of funding per pupil that comes from property taxes. Nearly all school districts in Minnesota receive referendum revenue. For MPS, the expiring amount is $1,604.31 per pupil. For the 2016-17 school year, the total referendum revenue, including the “Local Optional Revenue” of $424 per pupil, is approximately $74 million. This represents about 13 percent of the operating budget.

What if the referendum renewal fails?
If the referendum fails, Minneapolis Public Schools will have to make difficult decisions about how to operate the district without a substantial portion of the budget. This may change the current services and opportunities we provide students and families, including class sizes.

How much money does each school receive from the referendum?
Use this spreadsheet to see how much money each school receives from referendum revenue (as shown in the highlighted columns) in the 2016-2017 school year. Budgets from all other school years can be found here.

Why does the district’s tax impact chart show a decrease if the referendum renewal passes?
Due to the increases in property values throughout Minneapolis, the projected tax impact on a property with the same value as the previous year is slightly lower.

How are specific uses and amounts within the categories of ‘managing class sizes’ and ‘providing supporting services and activities for students’ determined?
Each year the district develops its budget through a comprehensive process, including analyzing enrollment, revenue projections, and needs assessments, aligning budget priorities to the strategic plan, and seeking community feedback. Referendum funding is used to manage class size and provide services and activities for students. The specific amounts and uses within those categories will be determined as a part of the annual budget process. Needs can vary from year to year depending on our other revenue sources, which make up the vast majority of our overall budget. To see how referendum funding has been budgeted over the past eight years, view the budget spreadsheets here.

Where can I find more information?
If you have questions, please email answers@mpls.k12.mn.us, or call the referendum hotline at 612-668-5480.