• A conservative plan

  • After months of study and discussion, the Citizen’s Finance Committee narrowed in on its essential priorities: Support student learning by hiring and retaining high quality teachers and staff so we can lower class sizes and give students the personalized attention they deserve. 

    Feedback from the Community Task Force and surveys of parents, staff and community members indicated last year's referendum was confusing. People didn’t understand how the money would be used or how much it would cost each taxpayer.  This year plan is clear:

    1. New funding to support student learning, hire and retain teachers and reduce class sizes. Asking for an investment of $8 per month or $95 per year on a $200,000 home.
    2. Additional funding to support vocational technical education and college and career readiness. Asking property owners for $4 per month or $50 per year on a $200,000 home.

    For three years, the district has balanced its budget by cutting spending (the expense side of the ledger), but the problem is on the revenue side. The Community Task Force and most parents agree — the district has a revenue problem. Most districts in Minnesota have a voter-approved operating referendum to fill the gap in state funding. Cambridge-Isanti does not.

    • The average voter-approved operating referendum in Minnesota is $864 per student. This year, the district is asking for $565 per student on Question 1 and $121 per student on Question 2.
    • Cambridge-Isanti Schools now rank in the bottom 7% of all districts in Minnesota for per-student spending and funding
    • Our district ranks LAST in the Mississippi 8 Conference in per-student funding and per-student spending

    By putting students first, we can continue to attract and retain high quality teachers and make our school district a community of choice for families and kids. The children in our schools today are the future of our community. They need a high quality education. Strong schools mean strong communities.


Two-Question Referendum

  • Question 1: Support Students and Hire and Retain High-Quality Teachers and Staff

    Seeks approval of new revenue – $565 per-student, which would generate 2.97 million dollars in revenue annually. 

    Question 2: Additional Authorization to Support Vocational Technical & College Readiness

    Seeks approval of additional new revenue – $121 per-student, which would generate $636,208 in revenue annually. Question 2 is contingent on Question 1 passing

     

  • If both questions pass, the cost is $12 a month or 40 cents a day


  • Mitigating Tax Impact 

    If voters pass the referendum, the school board has committed to reduce other tax levies to help offset the impact of the referendum on taxpayers. For Ag Land owners, this will result in a DECREASE in property taxes on the agricultural land. If the referendum fails, the other levies will remain at their current levels.

    How will this happen? The district will refinance existing debt, much like refinancing a home mortgage, the lower annual payments from the tax levy make room for the new referendum levy. As a result, the tax impact of this year’s two-question referendum is HALF what was asked last year. 

    Students Need High-Quality Teachers 

    Cambridge-Isanti Schools need to keep and hire the very best teachers and staff to meet the unique needs of each student learner. Only then can we fulfill our mission to develop well-rounded individuals and responsible citizens who excel in leadership and achieve at the highest levels. 

    We need stable funding to educate our students and protect the values and future of Cambridge-Isanti communities — now more than ever.

    • State funding for education in Minnesota has not kept pace with inflation over the last decade, in fact we’ve lost 10% of our buying power since 2013.
    • Cambridge-Isanti Schools now rank in the bottom 7% of all districts in Minnesota for per-student spending and funding
    • Our district ranks last in the Mississippi 8 Conference in per-student funding and per-student spending

    State Funding Has Not Kept Pace with Inflation

    Inadequate funding and three years of budget cuts have led to larger class sizes, fewer teachers and staff, fewer critical support systems for students, and fewer career and technical learning opportunities for students.

    Today's Students are Tomorrow's Workforce

    Our communities face critical workforce shortages, and our schools must help meet them. Our conservative revenue request is needed to help prepare responsible, career-ready graduates for skilled trades, manufacturing, engineering, healthcare, teaching and other needs in our community and society.

    Our State Helps Those Who Help Themselves

    If this referendum passes, the state will pay 20% of the referendum amount (up to $460 per student). That is almost a half million dollars in state sales and income taxes that Cambridge-Isanti voters already pay and will be returned to our community. If the referendum fails, the state aid dollars we all contribute to each year will go to other school districts in Minnesota. This plan brings more state aid home into our schools.

    Accountability and Transparency

    In January 2021, Cambridge-Isanti leaders created a Citizens Financial Advisory Council, made up of local business leaders and school board members. It will remain active for as long as the referendum authorization lasts to create an ever-higher level of transparency, oversight and accountability for the spending of referendum dollars.

  • The Need
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  • Background & Resources