Rumors related to the November 2011 levy:
Rumor: If the school district can afford to remodel University Avenue School, it doesn't need a levy.
THE FACTS: A portion of the funding for that school, and its specialty programming on aviation, aeronautics and children's engingeering come from state and federal desegregation revenue. Most of the renovations have been paid out of capital funds, which are for construction and renovation only. Capital funds cannot be used to pay for teacher salaries. By renovating the school and adding a specialty school focus, the school has brought in new enrollment from outside the school district, which provides additional revenue to the school and the district.
Rumor: I heard the superintendent moved recently and got a big stipend for "moving costs." How can they ask for a levy when this goes on?
THE FACTS: The superintendent moved a block. He still resides in Blaine and within the Anoka-Hennepin School District boundaries. He did not receive any money for moving and paid a student out of his own pocket to help him move boxes and furniture.
Maybe this rumor arose because earlier this month, the Saint Paul Public Schools superintendent received a stipend for up to $40,000 in relocat ion costs to purchase a home within the borders of St. Paul. To reiterate, the Anoka-Hennepin superintendent did not recieve a stipend for moving.
Rumor: I heard that Anoka-Hennepin is getting an extra $763 per pupil in revenue from the state. Why do they need a levy if this is true?
THE FACTS: This is not true. The district did receive additional money, but it is not even close to this amount.
First, the Legislature shifted funding away from K-12 schools in order to b
alance the state budget. Anoka-Hennepin will get 60 percent of its funding for the 2011-12 school year. The remaining 40 percent will come next year. This 60/40 shift repeats in the 2012-13 school year with 40 percent of the district's funding arriving during the 2013-14 school year.
Because of this shift Anoka-Hennepin does not have enough cash flow to cover basic operating expenses like payroll. The district must borrow the money. The Legislature provided $50 per student for each of the next two years to cover the interest costs of borrowing. In the 2012-2013 school year, Anoka-Hennepin received additional compensatory revenue (for increasing numbers of students in poverty), most of which was one-time money that does not continue. Finally, because of improved test scores, the state awarded the district some additional funds.
Bottom line, the district received $2.2 million this year and will receive $7.2 million next year (of which $3 million is one-time money). From 2011 to 2013, this is an increase of $178 per pupil plus $79 per pupil in one-time funds. This is nowhere near the $1,044 per pupil provided by the referendum levy that is up for renewal.
Rumor: If you cut administration, you can save the money you need
THE FACTS: Anoka-Hennepin's central administration costs are 2.9 percent of total expenses, and its costs are one of the low
est in the metro area. If the entire central administration were eliminated (and if, theoretically we could manage without departments like benefits, which manages the health insurance plan, and payroll, which ensures staff are paid), the savings would be $12 million. This is one-quarter of the $48 million renewal that is Question 1 of this year's levy referendum.