Fewer Minnesota schools asking for operating levies this fall

Osseo Public Schools are currently seeking two multi-million dollar operating levies, that would raise taxes $9 a month for the average homeowner. 

But Osseo is among a very small pool of districts approaching voters this fall. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, 31 school districts statewide are seeking operating referendums in 2022. The Minnesota School Boards Association says that’s the fewest number of districts seeking taxpayer funds since 1984.

"I think some of them held off because they thought some legislative money would be going to help schools and they wouldn’t need to go to their taxpayers," said Greg Abbott of the Minnesota School Boards Association.

Abbott says with Minnesota reporting a $9 billion surplus, educators believed the state legislature would share some of those funds with local districts. However, that did not pan out. 

"I can’t remember a legislature with that much money who refused to put anything towards schools," said Abbott.

Historically, Minnesota voters are overwhelmingly supportive of school levies. Abbott said 2020 saw the lowest passage rate of school referendums in the last decade at 50%, but even that is good compared to many other states.

In Osseo, voters are being asked to approve a $7 million operating levy that would go towards day-to-day learning and instructional needs, as well as a $2.3 million technology levy that would go towards things like safety and security upgrades.