Tax Levy Remains Lower Than 15 Years Ago
Looking back over time, the tax levy payable in 2013 is lower than it was in 1996 and 11 percent lower than it was in 2001, just before the state eliminated the statewide General Education Levy and the Legislature assumed responsibility for $415 of locally-approved school referendum dollars.
During the last ten years, District voters have approved two operating and two capital referenda (in 2002 and 2007), and yet the total tax levy still remains lower than 10 and 15 years ago. During the same period, student enrollment and student achievement have climbed to all-time highs. District investments in high quality staff, updating facilities and leading edge technology have positioned the District to be a district of choice in the metro area. Families are increasingly choosing the Minnetonka School District as the community in which to raise their family.
Aware of the state’s looming financial crisis, Minnesota school districts are bracing for potential cuts to education funding and will advocate a zero percent increase in funding as a best-case scenario. At the same time, costs continue to increase.
Minnetonka prides itself on responsible and prudent fiscal stewardship. Aggressive financial management on the part of the Board and Administration has saved taxpayers money and ensured that the 83.7% of the District’s annual operating budget is directed to the classroom to support students and instruction.
· The District’s Aaa Moody’s Bond Rating (the highest possible rating) is a testament to responsible financial management and strong fiscal oversight.
· Minnetonka's annual operating fund expenditures per student (based on average daily membership) is $9,579 for FY12. According School District Profiles published by the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnetonka's per pupil spending is below the state average for like-size districts and below the seven-county metro area average. District debt service is also below the state and metro area.
· A self-insured health insurance plan for employees is saving the District $6 million annually in insurance premiums.
· Minnetonka has earned the Energy Star Leader Award, recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for improving energy efficiency and as a Top Performer for achieving an average Energy Star performance score of 81 across its portfolio of all buildings. The District is one of only 211 Energy Star Leaders in the nation--across all industry sectors--since the program began in 2004.
· Competitive bidding for transportation services decreased costs 7.1% below 2007-08 rates for 2010-11 with a guarantee to not exceed 2007-08 rates through 2012-2013.
· Minnetonka continues to focus on innovative programs and high quality staff to attract families into the District. Planned enrollment growth benefits all programs and students in the District and protects the District from budget cuts during uncertain financial times.
· Minnetonka is the top selected district for parent choice through Minnesota's Open Enrollment statute. More than 1,500 families elect to open enroll into Minnetonka Schools from 42 school districts in Minnesota.
· Minnetonka has taken advantage of a competitive construction climate and record-low interest rates to invest in the long-term maintenance of our buildings. All district schools and the Minnetonka Community Education Center have been renovated since 2009. The excellent condition of our buildings signals to all who enter them that the Minnetonka School District is a place where important learning and community activities occur.
· Public-private partnerships have funded exceptional fine arts and athletic facilities, allowing district funds to be focused on instructional space. Thanks to the City of Minnetonka for partnership in the Art Center on 7 at Minnetonka High School; Minnetonka Diamond Club for contributions to Veterans and Legacy Fields (baseball and softball complex); Minnetonka Youth Hockey Association for funding the Pagel Center arena; the Minnetonka Anchor Club for contributions to the Minnetonka Aquatics programs (at MME in 2009 and MMW coming in 2013); the Touchdown Club for contributions to the Tonka Dome, Einer Anderson Stadium and Veterans Field; Hennepin County Youth Sports Program for granting Tennis Courts at MME, a playground area at Groveland, artificial surface for the MHS JV baseball field, and coming in 2013 an artificial surface for the MHS soccer/lacrosse practice fields.
· Focusing on innovation in education, the Minnetonka Public Schools Foundation endows the Writing Center at MHS and funds more than $65,000 annually in innovative teacher grants. Since 1999, The Foundation has awarded close to $550,000 for grants that enhanced the curriculum in all academic subject areas, technology, fine arts, early childhood education, special education and community service.
Residents can view a presentation on the District tax levy from the October Board Meeting at:
Watch the presentation of the 2012 District Audit Report at: