Why is the district seeking funding?
State funding has not kept pace with inflation – in fact our general education formula has lost 10% of its buying power since 2003. Even this year when the legislature touted a 2.45% increase – that is not on pace with inflation.
Most school districts have a voter-approved referendum to fill the gap – the average referendum provides $858 per pupil — our students go without that funding.
After cutting expenses by $8.5 million (on a $55 million budget), our class sizes are too high and students are not getting the individual attention they need. Cambridge-Isanti in the bottom 7% of per-pupil spending in Minnesota. Budget reductions have resulted in:
- Teacher layoffs and increased class sizes
- Reduced cleaning and custodial staff time (to an every other day rotation).
- Reductions in administration and delayed curriculum updates
- Eliminated innovation, instructional coaches and instructional assistant positions
- Layoffs for community education
- Increased student fees for activities
Just a few weeks ago the SEE (Schools for Equitable Funding in Education) came out with a new report and Cambridge-Isanti dropped in rankings again. Cambridge-Isanti Schools now rank #311 out of 327 in per pupil funding among all Minnesota school districts and LAST among our neighbors in the MIssissippi 8.
An operating levy referendum is a levy for learning. It helps fund day-to-day operations within our schools, which includes teachers, classroom supplies, instructional assistants, and instructional materials. We need to hire more teachers to lower class sizes and provide students the individualized attention they deserve..
The increased revenue will be used to maintain the high quality education we have come to expect, reduce class sizes, avoid more budget cuts and bring financial stability for the district.