Braham superintendent explains upcoming levy referendum vote

Greg Winter, Superintendent
Braham Area Schools

Within the next week, all residents of Braham Area Schools will have received the letter and flyer explaining our upcoming levy referendum vote. The school district hopes that you take the time to look over the information and to either contact me at the school or attend any one of the meetings scheduled in the upcoming weeks.

Superintendent Greg Winter
Superintendent Greg Winter

The first thing to understand about the upcoming levy referendum vote on Nov. 5; it is a renewal of our current levy that was approved six years ago. It does not seek any additional funding. The district is already receiving funding from this revenue source.

The two biggest concerns from any taxpayer on this type of referendum vote are: what is the money going to be used for and what impact does it have on my property taxes? Currently, we are using the funding in this levy to support additional programming in our schools and to keep up on the maintenance of our buildings and grounds.

First of all, since the existing levy was passed we have put many additional courses in place for our students.  Many College in the Schools (CIS) courses have been added to allow our students to gain college credits and still attend our high school. We have also used this additional money for programming in the vocational areas as well. This year we have expanded Vocational programming by adding a number of Agricultural courses along with a Super mileage car activity.

Along with the additional programming, we have used funding from this levy to help improve our buildings and grounds. Some of the projects that we have done over the last four years have been, roofing, flooring, parking lot improvement, lighting, door security, security cameras and building entrances, which were made possible through the additional funding from this levy.

Secondly, the impact of the levy on your property taxes is listed in the table on the flyer that has been mailed out.  As noted in the table, should this continuing levy be approved, it will have a net effect of decreasing the school portion of your property taxes. The reason why there would be a decrease is because the State of Minnesota is funding a larger portion of the local levies. The process by which the state funds more of the local levy is called “equalization.” Equalization helps smaller, less affluent districts fund their local levies by lessening the impact it has on local property taxes. Since Braham Area School district is a smaller, outstate school district it does not have the property wealth that a larger metro district would have to help fund their levies. In the last legislative session, the amount of equalization was increased to help close the gap between funding for the larger metro districts and the smaller outstate districts.

We hope that you will be able to attend one of the community meetings that are scheduled Oct. 23 and Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in our community room at the high school to help further explain the upcoming levy and answer any questions you may have on this process.

Please do not hesitate to contact me either by e-mail or by calling me at the district office to answer any questions on our upcoming levy. I can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 320-396-3313 ext. 5199