We're Less than Two Weeks from Election Day 2019
Borg Report October 23, 2019
The Nov. 5, 2019, Westonka Public Schools levy referendum is less than two weeks away. This week's Borg Report serves as a reminder of the two distinct pathways that will be decided by the outcome of the referendum. We are also providing information on early voting.
If you have not had an opportunity to become familiar with the levy request, please visit the referendum page on the district website, www.westonka.k12.mn.us/referendum, where you can find the following:
- A 2-minute video summary
- Detailed tax charts
- Voting information
- School board candidate profiles
We know that work schedules and family activities can sometimes make it difficult to get to the polls on Election Day. Luckily, it has never been easier to vote early in person in Minnesota.
In-person absentee/early voting is conducted at the Westonka Educational Service Center, 5901 Sunnyfield Road E, Minnetrista (across the parking lot from Mound Westonka High School), weekdays during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you are already a registered voter, an Absentee Ballot Application (available online or at the ESC) is all you will need to vote early in person. If you are not a registered voter, you can register when you come in to vote with proper identification.
During the last week of absentee voting, Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, in-person absentee voters will be able to vote by “direct ballot,” meaning they will be able to feed their ballot into a ballot counter just as is done on Election Day. Due to public response to direct ballot absentee voting in recent elections, the district will offer some extended early voting hours that week. Early voting will be open the following times during the direct balloting period:
- Tuesday, Oct. 29 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 30 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 31 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 1 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 2 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 4 - 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Residents can find where they will vote on Election Day at mnvotes.org.
What’s on the ballot?
Westonka residents will be asked to vote on a single ballot question to revoke all three of the district’s current operating levies and replace them with a single, 10-year levy with a tiered payment structure.
Levies provide funding for day-to-day district operating expenses such as classroom teachers, transportation costs, utilities and classroom supplies. The school district has not asked for an increase to its operating levy in more than 10 years, with the last increase coming in 2007.
Also on Nov. 5, Westonka will elect four school board members for four-year terms.
A "yes" vote will help the district close the gap created by state and federal funding shortages. The tiered levy approach lessens the tax impact for residents by asking for funds only as they are needed by the school district. On a $377,000 home, taxes will increase by $7.50 per month in 2020 and by an additional $6.50 per month in 2024 if the levy is approved.
Please take time to review the detailed tax chart below to determine your home’s estimated tax increase.
If the levy is approved on Nov. 5, Westonka Public Schools residents will still have the lowest total school property taxes in all of Hennepin County.
A "no" vote will direct the district to begin making significant reductions, starting with a projected $750,000 in cuts for the 2020-2021 school year. Similar reductions would be required the following year.
If the levy fails, the district will focus on minimizing the impact of reductions on our students. However, due to the size of reductions needed, one can expect the following impacts:
- Larger class sizes, pushing some primary class sizes to upper 20s, some middle school classes to mid 30s, and some high school classes to upper 30s.
- Fewer electives with less diversity of classes to match student interests and abilities.
- Less student support to ensure safety, mental health, and smooth school operations.
- Activities reductions, including the number of coaches and middle school activities.
If you have any questions about the upcoming referendum, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. It’s important that you learn the facts and vote to set the district’s direction on or before Nov. 5.