Pelican school levy debate in full swingPublished 10:40am Thursday, September 1, 2011
It’s two months and counting until Pelican Rapids school district voters will decide on whether to approve $600 per pupil in additional operating revenue for the school system.
This will mark the fourth levy referendum in four years, with the vote planned Nov. 1.
The levy, if approved, would generate close to $731,000 per year for the next five years.
Prior to Aug. 22, the school board had not decided what the dollar amount should be. In the end, the board agreed with an independent task force to ask voters to approve the per pupil request of $600.
Proponents of the package point out that when it comes to support of the school district, Pelican Rapids taxpayers pay the lowest gross property tax rate in a 60-miles radius. The gross property tax on a $100,000 home in Pelican Rapids School District is just $83.
The tax on a $100,000 home in Fergus Falls is $382, it’s $266 in Underwood and $147 in Perham.
The Pelican Rapids task force says approval this fall for the levy amount is needed in order for the district to avoid deficit spending.
The panel also pointed out that the state of Minnesota has not kept up with inflation in funding schools.
Pelican Rapids is one of the 10 percent of schools in the state of Minnesota that do not have an operating referendum. Ninety percent of the school districts have an operating referendum in place.
“Pelican Rapids has been frugal but can no longer provide the educational system that is needed and expected without the support of the community and area residents,” said School Board member Don Perrin.
The school district wants to provide quality programs, offer program specialists in K-12 education, maintain all day every day kindergarten, provide opportunities in fine arts, academics and athletics and enhance and strengthen technology opportunities for students.Tags: Pelican Rapids, Pelican Rapids school district