Referendum Information » FAQ

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:
 
  • Q: Why is the school district asking for more funding?
    • A: The Brooklyn Center School Board unanimously decided to put these two requests on the November7 ballot after reviewing budget projections, the results of a districtwide Facilities study and the district's long-range Strategic Plan to increase student achievement.  What they found:
      • State education funding is not keeping pace with educational costs, increasing needs, nor inflation.
      • Increasing enrollment, academic changes, and aging buildings have led to safety, academic, crowding, and deferred maintenance needs at our schools.
      • More space is needed for pre-kindergarten and elementary students at Earle Brown Elementary School as well as students at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School.
      • School buses are aging and in need of repair.
      • School entrance security could be improved at both Earle Brown Elementary and Brooklyn Center Middle and High School.
      • Separating the middle school from the high school at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School would improve teaching and learning experience for students.
      • Both Earle Brown Elementary and Brooklyn Center Middle and High School have extensive deferred maintenance needs.
  • Q:  What will be on the ballot?
    • A:  There will be two school funding requests:
      • Question 1 would increase operating funds to improve classroom instruction, expand teacher training, and replace aging buses.
      • Question 2 would provide construction funds for Earle Brown Elementary and Brooklyn Center Middle and High School to increase and remodel classroom spaces, improve school security, provide separate entrances and classroom areas for middle school and high school students, and address deferred maintenance needs.
  • Q: How does Brooklyn Center's operating levy compare with other school districts?
    • A: Brooklyn Center's operating levy is substantially lower than all of its neighboring school districts.                   
  • Q: What will happen if voters don't approve the requests?
    • A: If both questions are not approved by voters:
      • Our schools will become increasingly crowded and less efficient.
      • School buses will continue to age and become less reliable and safe.
      • Academic program changes will happen at a slower pace.
      • There will be fewer spots available for residents to enroll children in the pre-kindergarten program to help boost their school readiness skills.
      • We would be unable to separate the middle school and high school programs.
      • We would be unable to provide appropriate labs and special classrooms to support science, technology, engineering, art, and math curriculum improvement.
  • Q:  What will these requests mean for my property taxes?
    • A:  If both requests are approved by voters, the tax impact on an average homeowner ($135,000 home) would be less than $7 per month.

  • Q:  How does open enrollment effect our schools?  Are these funding requests for students who don't even live in our school district?
    • A:  Open enrolled students bring funding to our schools that helps us operate programs for all our students.  In fact, funds from open enrolled students helped get our district out of statutory operating debt.  Some open enrollment facts:
      • We are obligated by state law to allow students to open enroll in our district, as long as we have space.
      • We need space for our youngest learners.
        • Our pre-Kindergarten program is growing and has a waiting list of resident families who want their children to attend; nearly all enrolled are Brooklyn Center residents.
        • Incoming resident kindergarten classes are larger than past classes and the number of school-age children living in BCS has increased 10% since 2010.
      • Nearly 30% of our open enrolled students are Insight Online Learning students, who do not take up space but bring us revenue.
      • Students who open enroll into our schools bring state and local funding with them.  This revenue has provided financial stability for our schools during years of inadequate state education funding that has not kept pace with inflation or increasing costs.
      • We are also part of a state-mandated collaborative agreement with six other school districts (Northwest Suburban Integration School District) to offer magnet school options to students in all seven districts that enables families to voluntarily choose an integrated and effective school opportunity for their child.
      • Resident families have first priority when we enroll students.
 
  • Q. Do you have to live in the school district to vote on the school funding requests?
    • A. Yes, only registered voters who live within the Brooklyn Center School District can vote on these requests.  If you're not registered, click this link to be brought to the Minnesota Secretary of State's website where you can register to vote.  You just need your Driver's License number, ID Card number, or the last four digits of your social security number.  If your note sure if you're eligible to vote, click this link and put in your address - it will show your polling location and what's on your November 7 ballot.