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Minneapolis Board of Education unanimously approves November referendum

Citing a multifaceted effort to bring fiscal stability to Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), the Minneapolis Board of Education tonight unanimously approved placing two referendum questions on the November 2018 ballot that would increase operating revenue for the school district by $30 million.

The first question will ask Minneapolis voters to consider an increase to the existing operating levy to the state-allowed maximum, a total of $18 million in additional revenue.

The second question would authorize a capital-projects levy to cover the increasing cost of technology and data systems. Also known as a tech levy, these funds would allow MPS to shift $12 million in current technology expenses away from the general fund. No new technology is proposed or will be funded by this levy.

Funds from both referendums will be used throughout the district to improve student achievement and well-being through equitable investments in literacy, social and emotional learning, and support systems for students. This 2018 referendum follows a successful 2016 referendum in which voters renewed, but were not asked to increase, an existing referendum.

“We are grateful for the past generous support of Minneapolis taxpayers,” said Superintendent Ed Graff. “This referendum is just one way MPS is working to ensure we have the resources available to invest in the programs our students need and deserve.”

The approved Board resolution noted multiple efforts by MPS to stabilize funding and invest in student achievement. For the first time in nearly a decade, this year MPS created a balanced budget for the 2018-19 school year without the use of reserve funds through targeted budget reductions and hiring and travel restrictions. The school district is also reviewing and considering changes to all programs and services over the next two years to use limited resources to better serve students and families. In addition to the referendum, MPS is working at the state legislature to increase revenues for Special Education and English Learner services.

More information can be found at mpls.k12.mn.us/referendum.