FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Scroll down for answers to these Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen if this referendum is not approved?
You say it’s a “zero tax increase” but some properties look like there is an increase?
I thought this was going to cost us $1 per month?
How can you do this work for zero tax increase?
What is a “capital projects levy”?
Will you hold another referendum soon?
The school district’s enrollment is dropping, why invest now?
What would happen to my taxes if the referendum was not approved?
I don’t have any students in the district. I am on a fixed income. Why should I support these levies?
Can I deduct the taxes paid on my State and Federal Income Taxes?
What is an Operating Referendum? Bond? 




What will happen if this referendum is not approved?

If the referendum is not approved, our elementary students will still be disrupted by noise from neighboring classrooms. Roofs, flooring, lighting, restrooms and more, will still be old - past their life expectancy. Parking lots and athletic fields will still need major maintenance work. Technology infrastructure will still be paid for from the general fund, taking funds away from teachers and educational supports. The needs won’t go away. We may be back again with another referendum proposal, or we may work within state law to find less desirable alternative funding sources, such as lease levies that don’t require voter approval.

Or we may do what we had been doing, which is to save several years of capital funds from the state to complete the highest priority capital projects. As an example, in order to enclose and remodel the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms at CRES, the District had to save up for several years to accumulate the funds necessary to complete the enclosure and remodeling in the kindergarten pod, then save up for several years to accumulate the funds necessary to complete the enclosure and remodel of the first grade pod. Because the classroom enclosure project is a priority, expenditures in other areas were not made so that the necessary funds could be accumulated and available. This has resulted in other areas of the facility not being remodeled or updated and other capital purchases not being made because of the need to save for several years to accomplish the prioritized projects, such as the classroom enclosures.

Therefore, at the rate the District is proceeding, it will take into the next decade to complete the classroom enclosure project, alone, much less trying to address other critical remodeling needs in places like media centers/libraries, industrial tech/shop areas, and keeping the rest of the facilities as well maintained as the School District would like.

When the citizens of the School District passed the school building bond referendum that allowed for the construction and remodeling of the existing high school, one of the key elements that they asked the District to provide was to make a commitment to keep the buildings maintained. This task is easier to accomplish when buildings are newer, but as they age each year, more and more of the component parts begins to reach the end of the individual component's life-cycle. For example, you re-roof your home and expect to need to do so again in 20 to 25 years. The same is true for a school building. We are approaching that critical mass time where so many of the various components of the building are needing to be updated or replaced in order to keep the facility in the best condition possible for years to come.

Just because the buildings need a little TLC/maintenance doesn’t mean they are not good buildings. If we take care of them, they will continue to serve the community for many years to come!


You say it’s a “zero tax increase” but some properties look like there is an increase?

There will be no increase in property tax except for homes valued at $350,000 and more (which will be $1 per year increase). The tax impact report showing impact to a variety of property values in all tax classifications is here. A tax calculator is here.




I thought this was going to cost us $1 per month?

Initially, that was the case. When our financial planners first assessed the situation months ago, the project was going to result in a tax increase of about $1 per month on an averaged-priced home. Since then, borrowing rates have fallen and are expected to stay low. There will be no increase in property tax except for homes valued at $350,000 and more (which will be $1 per year increase). The new tax impact report is here. A tax calculator is here.


How can you do this work for zero tax increase?

In 2002, voters approved a referendum to pay for the remodel of the high school and construction of the new junior high school, which opened in 2005. The mortgage or debt from that referendum will be paid off in 2023. This referendum would approve a new “mortgage” that replaces the old one. The school district would begin construction before the old debt is completely retired, but the new debt would “wrap around” the debt from the 2002 referendum so that taxes would not increase or would only increase by $1.00. The new debt is a 20-year term.




What is a “capital projects levy”?

The one-question referendum has two components: approval of a building bond levy to make building and grounds renovations, and a capital projects levy. The capital projects levy would provide a stable funding source for technology infrastructure and equipment for the next ten years. The pace of change in technology is evolving quickly. Equipment, educational software, and technology infrastructure require consistent upgrades to stay current.


While general funds can pay for this increasingly important expense, the state allows for alternative funding through a levy so the district can devote the general fund to educational programs and services. 

 

 




Will you hold another referendum soon?

For years, state revenue has not kept pace with inflation - our revenue has been increasing at a rate less than two percent annually, but our expenses are increasing at roughly three percent. Paying for technology infrastructure from another revenue source will help our operating budget, but it won’t solve our problem. We will need to address our structural operating budget challenges sometime in the next few years. We are looking into decreasing our expenses, increasing our revenue (through an operating levy referendum, attracting new students, or other revenue opportunities), or some combination of the two in the near future. It is important to understand that Crosby-Ironton is not unique by being subject to a structural financial deficit used by the state of Minnesota to underfund public education.




The school district’s enrollment is dropping, why invest now?

Yes, our enrollment has declined. In fact, competition from other schools like Brainerd, Aitkin and Pequot Lakes, who are investing in their facilities, is drawing some of our students to their districts. Even though enrollment is decreasing, our roofs and other infrastructure still need to be maintained. By updating facilities, increases the school district’s capacity to be able to recruit and retain more resident students.




What would happen to my taxes if the referendum was not approved?

Your property taxes are paying for our 2005 middle school and renovations to the high school, and we are grateful for your vote to approve that project. When that debt expires in 2023, your property taxes would decrease, if this referendum is not approved. On a $200,000 home, Ehler’s, our financial advisor, is estimating about an $88 reduction in taxes annually if the referendum is not approved. Again, if the referendum is approved, your taxes will not increase, or (with residential property valued at $350,000 and above), they will increase about a dollar a year. An exact amount cannot be calculated because final certification for taxes payable in 2023 won’t be completed until December of 2022.   I don’t have any students in the district. I am on a fixed income. Why should I support these levies?
Education is the first step to an effective workforce. What students learn today could fuel the Crosby-Ironton community’s economy tomorrow. Our district provides students with opportunities to explore different career paths and prepare for the work they’re passionate about as soon as possible. The referendum provides both additional funds for student learning and improved facilities to further our initiatives to provide a great learning environment for our students. Can I deduct the taxes paid on my State and Federal Income Taxes?
If you itemize deductions for federal income taxes, you may be able to deduct all property taxes paid.

​What is an Operating Referendum? Bond? An operating referendum is an election asking voters to provide funds that the district uses to run and operate its schools. An operating levy is for running the educational programs at the school and goes to the district’s general fund. Bond levies are for funds that the school district uses for new construction, updates to existing facilities, and other additions to school properties. Crosby-Ironton is proposing a bond levy in the 2019 referendum.


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