8/22/2013 3:14:00 PM Working together for another year
Welcome back everyone to another school year. It seems like just yesterday that we were saying goodbye to our students and starting our summer break. As I visited our schools during the summer, I saw all of the work that our custodians do to get the buildings ready for our students and staff. From cleaning, to painting, to repairing, these hardworking individuals take pride in making sure our buildings will be ready. I have also seen many teachers meeting to develop curriculum, analyze test results and to collaborate on what is best practice in either their grade level or content teams. All of this preparation will help us to meet the needs of our students during this coming school year.
On Tuesday, August 6, I attended three events that really typified the spirit of our area. The first two were National Night Out events in Shafer and Taylors Falls. I saw people volunteering, helping with food, setting up games, giving demonstrations, providing music, and in general giving each other support. It was also the night for our fall activities meeting at the high school. After a general information meeting in the P.A.C. (Performing Arts Center), each activity had an area to conduct their team meeting. Coaches talked about their sport, went over rules and answered questions from each family. The two main themes of these meetings seemed to be “teamwork” and “communication”. Whether it was National Night Out or the activity meetings, you could see how teamwork and communication helps everyone. Over the many years that I have been in our school district, I have seen how important these two themes are to our school district. We need to team with our communities to help each other when we can. We need to communicate at every level to help foster understanding and open discussion. When people work together, positive change can happen. With the legislative changes concerning school funding, our School Board took action to stop cutting our programs and staff.
The Board approved levy which goes into effect in 2014, along with location equity revenue, help to restore program reductions which have taken place over the last four years. We are eligible for the location equity revenue because a part of our district is in Washington County. The legislature passed this to help metro districts offset the higher costs to operate their schools. We now will benefit from this change, like the metro school districts. This Board approved levy and the location equity revenue will be a tax increase for our district residents. For a home with an estimated Market Value of $250,000, the increase will be approximately $5.25 per month. The state aid for this revenue will be 30 percent with local taxes providing 70 percent. The state aid for our current levy is 9 percent with 91 percent coming from local taxes.
As I stated earlier, these funds will help us to restore programs that we have cut over the last four years. Our Board also realizes that we need to keep improving and strengthening our academic offerings. We also need to make sure our schools are safe for students and staff. With these points in mind, we will be asking our district voters to approve a referendum this fall, on November 5. The operating referendum would generate $225 per student, an additional $820,000 for our school district for 10 years. With the additional funds this referendum would provide, we would be able to upgrade our technology for our students, provide the necessary changes to make our schools safer, and add back some electives to our High School and Middle School. A more detailed list will be in future publications. The decision will be yours.
Our goal is to provide the best educational opportunities for our students. Whether the opportunities are academic in nature or showing them how to be good citizens, each student deserves our full attention. If we work together with parents and the communities, we can help each student to realize their potential. In the future, our students will be volunteering at National Night Out and accompanying their children to the activity meetings so their children can learn about teamwork and communication. When we work together, everyone wins! Thank you for your continued support of the Chisago Lakes Area Schools. Please contact me if you have questions or concerns.