Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

As you may have heard by now, the school board is coming to the voters on Nov. 2 with two questions. The first question is a Tech Levy to help fund our school’s daily operations for a variety of expenses dealing with technology as well as career and tech. The second is a building bond to make significant improvements in our district. The pieces of the proposed project have been covered in a variety of articles in The Mascot and you can find more information on the school website at: www.minneotaschools.org.
What we would like to address today is Ag2School. This bi-partisan legislation that passed in 2017, significantly helps rural school districts fund building improvements. Because our tax base is predominantly ag land (78%), Ag2School provides major tax relief for our tax base. Here is how it impacts us specifically.
Assuming question 2 passes (question 2 can only pass if question 1 passes), our total bond debt, existing plus this project, including interest, will be $22 million. Of that $22 million, the state, through Ag2School, will pay $11.9 million or 54.1% of this debt obligation, leaving our district’s taxpayers to cover $10.1 million of our remaining debt. In essence, this program returns tax money already paid to the state via a credit on ag land owner’s property taxes. For every dollar paid locally, the state matches it with $1.08. These numbers are based on Ag2School’s current rate of coverage at 60%. In 2023, the rate of coverage is moving up to 70% so the state will be picking up even more of our debt load in future years.
Looking just at the proposed project in question 2, over the life of the bond, the project would be $9.8 million (including interest) – but 54.4% of that amount will be covered by Ag2School, reducing our taxpayers’ portion to $4.5 million. Ag2School pays the majority of the project.
We, as a board, realize that our district has to compete – for staff and for students and students have choices. Thirty-two percent of our students are open enrolled, meaning they choose to come here and state funding follows the student. This is wonderful for our district, but if we become stagnant and do not keep improving, we will not successfully compete with area districts.
There has never been a better time to make improvements to our school, with interest rates being at historic lows as well as the discount the Ag2School legislation provides.

Jeff Buysse and Dawn Van Keulen

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The Minneota Mascot
Address: 201 N. Jefferson
Minneota, MN 56264

Phone:(507) 872-6492