2022 Referendum

Referendum 2022 Logo

We are proposing a renewal of an expiring capital projects levy approved in 2013 to continue to fund School Safety & Security that will better prepare for, protect against and respond to school emergencies and threats, and to support and maintain Education Technology for students and staff.

The capital projects (school safety and technology) levy referendum question will be on the Tuesday, November 8 ballot. 

Voters approved the current capital projects levy in 2013 which provided $6 million per year for 10 years for school safety and technology. That referendum is set to expire in 2024.

If the renewal is approved, the levy authorization (5.858% times the district’s net tax capacity) will fund approximately $9.8 million the first year, and is renewed for 10 years, from 2025 to 2034. 

Approval will result in a no tax increase on property owners as a whole, unless property values increase in the future.

If the renewal is not approved by voters, it will result in the loss of $9.8 million each year on technology and school safety spending.

We invite you to review the information and materials provided on these website pages to become an informed voter. If you have any questions or comments, please email us at commrelations@isd271.org.

Referendum

A safe learning environment is essential for all students to promote social and creative learning. Thanks to voters supporting the 2013 referendum, we’ve significantly upgraded facilities, physical and security hardware, software, and training as elements of a multi-layered approach to school safety.

There is no final step to school safety. It requires an ongoing commitment and unwavering focus on supporting learning and student well-being. Continued investment in School Safety & Security will help prepare for, protect against and respond to school emergencies and threats. 

A renewal of the levy will enhance and expand security measures, including a visitor management system, upgrades to alarm, video and emergency communications systems, and expanded training in threat assessment, incident command, traumatic injury response and mental health.

The Next Technologies for Learning plan, approved by voters in 2013, shifted schools to one-to-one learning (a device for each student), and prioritized closing the Digital Access Gap for students who struggled to get internet at home. Teachers digitized coursework so learning platforms, online tools and digital content were ready when the district moved to remote learning.

Continued investment in the Next Technologies for Learning plan is needed to keep this foundation strong and to build upon it. A renewal of the levy will allow for growth of anytime/anywhere solutions such as improving digital learning platforms and teaching resources, and the expansion of blended and online learning options. Students will have more opportunities to explore computer science, connect with local and global communities and to become creative and active problem solvers.

If the levy is not approved, the district will need to reduce nearly $10 million from the budget in other areas to provide school safety and security and technology for students in the classroom. 

Additionally, the district could be faced with not maintaining the technology and security tools and resources that have been added over the past 10 years.

Technology skills are a foundational element to provide options for career, college or other pathways to graduation students may choose.

Keeping schools safe allows students to look forward to being in an encouraging environment that promotes social and creative learning. A safe learning environment is essential for all students. Promoting school safety creates an open space for students to explore, learn and grow.

How Funds Were Allocated & Proposed Plans

The goal of the Comprehensive School Safety and Security Plan is to ensure district leaders and staff are better prepared to protect against and respond to any school emergency. The four components of the plan are mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. 

Initiatives implemented with the 2013 voter-approved funding include:

  • Security Access System in each school and the Educational Service Center manages and monitors user access permissions to protect against security breaches. Access ID cards for every employee, and classroom door hardware that locks on demand without compromising egress.
  • Video Surveillance through the use of internal and external security cameras in every school and facility.
  • Two-way radio system to enhance security and communications during the school day.
  • Alarm systems to alert and activate emergency response protocols.
  • Before- and after-school security coverage.
  • Comprehensive training for all staff (School Safe Conditions and Response Protocols), and school/site leaders and emergency response teams on Incident Command System (ICS), CPR, AED and first aid.

If approved, proposed project funding includes:

  • Visitor Management System to authenticate all visitors and volunteers in each district site.
  • Security upgrades, including door ajar alarms, window glazing, and technology integrated systems.
  • Maintenance, replacement and expansion of access management, video, radio and communications systems.
  • Licensing renewal costs.
  • Training: Threat and risk assessment, ongoing ICS for new leaders, site emergency response teams on CPR/First Aid and AED.

Questions?
For more information contact Bloomington Public Schools’ Community Relations Office at 952-681-6403 or commrelations@isd271.org.

The goal of the Next Technologies for Learning plan is to accelerate the district’s mission - to utilize the power of technology to support each and every student as they learn to thrive in a rapidly changing world. 

Initiatives implemented with the 2013 voter-approved funding include:

  • The shift to one-to-one learning - providing a chromebook or tablet to each student.
  • Closing the Digital Access gap - using internet hotspots for students to continue learning when away from school.
  • Building the skills and knowledge of students and staff to use technology for learning, through professional development and tech integration.
  • Support for the underlying network, and to maintain the infrastructure upon which digital learning happens.

If approved, proposed project funding includes:

  • Continued investment in foundational skills and tools essential to success - chromebooks, software and data systems that support learning.
  • Anytime/Anywhere learning that expands access to education - digital learning platforms, blended and online learning programs.
  • Opportunities for learners to connect with the local and global community, to become creative and active problem solvers, and to explore computer science.

Questions?
For more information contact Bloomington Public Schools’ Community Relations Office at 952-681-6403 or commrelations@isd271.org.

Referendum Facts and Key Terms

  • Bloomington relies on voter approved referenda for operating and special capital project funds. 
  • Capital projects referendums are different from operating referendums, which fund learning activities and day-to-day operations. The Tuesday, Nov. 8 ballot will include a request to approve renewal of the capital projects referendum.
  • The capital projects levy funding provides technology to support learning in the classroom, and school safety and security projects. The current “safety and technology” capital projects levy passed by voters in 2013 expires in 2024. On or before November 2023, voters need to extend the referendum or it will lapse and immediately reduce the District’s revenue by $9.8 million annually.
  • Local referenda have been part of school funding in Minnesota for many years. It allows local communities to provide funding for their local schools based on local priorities. All locally approved referendum funds stay in the local community.
  • Today, many Minnesota school districts rely on local capital projects levy for funding that would otherwise take from the General Fund, or general operating funding from the state or operating levy. The state counts on local referenda to cover part of the cost of education in Minnesota.

  • Referendum: Ballot question put before voters in a general or special election. Minnesota requires a simple majority to pass. A referendum is really about community: Communities make decisions about the level of quality they are willing to support for their schools. Strong communities have strong schools.
  • Levy: An amount the school district collects through local property taxes. Levy amounts are set by the state, others at the discretion of the school board or by local voters. 
  • Operating Levy Referendum: Funds day-to-day operations (salaries and benefits, supplies, utilities, curriculum, transportation). Must be approved by voters.
  • Capital Projects Levy Referendum: Strictly designated for specific projects (technology, safety and security, facilities). Capital funds cannot be used for operating expenses. Must be approved by voters. When approved by a voter referendum, school districts may levy for no more than 10 years the amount authorized for specific capital projects. Proceeds of the levey must be placed in a special account and used only for the approved purposes.

How do I vote?

Voting is very easy. Minnesota allows anyone to vote by absentee or early voting.

  • Early voting begins September 23, 2022.
  • Absentee voting may be done in person or by mail. Only the voter (not a friend or parent) can pick up or complete an absentee ballot.

In Minnesota, you don’t have to wait until election day to cast a ballot. Registered voters can vote early for any reason beginning Friday, Sept. 23, or at their respective polling sites on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022

  • Absentee Vote by Mail: www.bloomingtonmn.gov/cl/voting-information 
  • Vote in Person: Bloomington Civic Plaza (City Clerk’s Office), 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington, MN  55431, during regular hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and during extended hours before Election Day: Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 7, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

  • Students attending college who wish to vote should complete an absentee ballot application. 
  • An absentee ballot with a postage-paid envelope will then be mailed to the student’s college residence address. Absentee ballots must be received on or before Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 8).
  • Applications may be returned by Mail (City Clerk’s Office, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington, MN, 55431), or in person. 
  • Students who have a fall break or are home for a visit may also vote in person at the City Clerk’s Office during normal business hours.

Why is School Safety Important?

Keeping schools safe allows children to look forward to being in an encouraging environment that promotes social and creative learning. When their basic safety needs aren't met, children are at risk for not feeling comfortable at school and may stop showing up, or they may remain on edge throughout the day. Promoting school safety creates an open space for kids to explore, learn and grow.

A safe learning environment is essential for students of all ages. Without it they are unable to focus on learning the skills needed for a successful education and future. When violence is part of the educational setting, all students are affected in some way. Even though your child may not be the actual victim of violence in school, there is a very good chance that he or she will witness violent acts throughout the educational years. Research continues to illustrate children who feel unsafe at school perform worse academically and are more at risk for getting involved in drugs and delinquency.

The issue of school safety is a major concern at all levels of government, from local to federal. School boards meet with teachers and parents to listen to their concerns and suggest solutions. State and federal legislators are taking steps to improve school safety and law enforcement as the nation realizes the importance of this issue and how it impacts children's futures

With a higher number of teachers using technology to educate their students, the need to better understand and promote safe internet usage is critical. Online, children are at risk for being bullied by peers or anonymous users and being taken advantage of by adults preying on younger folks. Exposure to inappropriate content and disturbing images and language should also be considered when using computers or tablets in the classroom.

Safety online is just as important as physical safety. An estimated 55 percent of LGBT students report being cyber bullied, and 15 percent of high school students have experienced this as well. Kids who are in an environment where bullying takes place are more at risk for suicidal behaviors compared to students who are not exposed to bullying. Programs that support safe use of technology can greatly impact the mental health of the students using it.

When considering violence in schools, the horrific acts that occurred at Columbine and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high schools and Sandy Hook and Robb elementary schools shock our conscience and understanding. These incidents, and others like them, are the worst cases of violence in schools. It can be difficult to think about the increase of school violence and what that means for students.

Safety in schools is necessary to support the academic success of each child, giving them the opportunity to learn and achieve in a safe and nurturing environment. Strict policies on school safety promote increased learning, feelings of school unity, higher levels of prosocial behavior and decreased levels of violence.

Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome questions from parents, students, staff and the community about the upcoming referendum. Send your questions to commrelations@isd271.org

The following are some of our most frequently asked questions:

Why is the district holding a referendum?

We are proposing a renewal of the expiring capital projects levy approved in 2013 to continue to fund Safety & Security Measures that will better prepare, protect and respond to school emergencies and threats, and to purchase, support and maintain classroom and district technology systems and programs. When schools use technology to enhance the work of educators and to improve the quality and quantity of educational content, students thrive.

What does the Capital Projects Levy cover?

The levy covers costs related to: 

  • The purchase, support and maintenance of classroom and district technology systems and programs.
  • School safety and security improvements, including a visitor authentication system. 
  • Upgrades in video and emergency communications systems.
  • Expanded training in threat assessment, incident command and traumatic injury response.

How will this affect property taxes?

The levy can be accomplished with a no tax increase on property owners as a whole, unless property values increase in the future. 

The estimated tax impact of the capital project levy renewal is provided in the chart below:

Table of Tax Impact of Potential Capital Project Levy Renewal

Contact Us

With questions related to the referendum, contact the Community Relations Office at commrelations@isd271.org or 952-681-6403.