Frequently Asked Questions
How is funding from the Technology Levy spent?
On the Technology Levy webpage, there is a pie chart that shows the amount of Spending by Category. Here is more detail about what is included in those categories:
- Building Technology Funds ($56,000): Funds earmarked to schools that they may spend on technology-related items.
- Classroom Audio Visual ($310,000): Replacement costs for classroom AV equipment, assuming a 5-year life cycle.
- Infrastructure ($330,000): Includes internet costs; replacement costs for networking gear, assuming a 5-year life cycle; replacement costs for phone system; replacement costs for data security, assuming 5-year life cycle.
- Curricular Resources/Software ($389,342): Annual subscription costs for software and systems directly related to classroom instruction.
- Software Management ($888,066); Annual subscription costs for software and systems related to operations.
- Hardware ($964,406); Annual refresh of four grade levels of student devices; annual refresh of 25% of staff computers.
Staffing and Professional Development ($3,479,774): The Tech Levy pays salaries of 37 full time staff and a portion of 70 additional staff related to the acquisition, operations and maintenance of telecommunications systems, computers, related equipment, and network and applications software, or managing student assessment, services and achievement information required for students and classroom information management needs.
What is the difference between a levy and a bond issue?
Both are funding sources for school districts that are generated by taxation of district residents, approved by a vote of the district's taxpayers, and based on property value. Here are some ways they are different.
Levies are typically in place for 10 years at which time districts seek a renewal of the levy at the same or a different amount. The current levy was voted on in 2011 and has been in place since July 1, 2012. It will expire June 30, 2022. The levy on the May 11 ballot is for another 10-year levy that would renew the expiring levy plus an additional $500,000. If approved, the new levy would collect funds for the district through 2032. (Tax impact information)
Bond issues are one-time requests (i.e. not renewable) for specific construction and/or facilities improvements and are also for a set period of time. Think of a bond issue as similar to a house mortgage or a loan. A “yes” vote will allow the district to sell bonds worth $7M for the noted improvements. The bonds issued by voter approval on May 11 would be repaid over a 20-year period through the collection of an annual tax paid by district property owners. (Tax impact information) During the life of a bond issue, the district looks for opportunities to lessen the tax burden on residents by refinancing when interest rates are favorable (again, similar to a home mortgage). For instance, last October the district refinanced a General Obligation Alt Facility Bond in place since 2013 that resulted in $750,000 savings for district taxpayers, to be spread out over the next five levy cycles.
Is the district asking for a technology levy so there can be a permanent shift to full time distance learning?
No! Technology has been a learning tool long before the pandemic. And during the pandemic, technology has been an important district asset that ensured continuity of learning. The increased reliance on technology over the past year has honed new skills among students and teachers, some of which will carry over as the effects of the pandemic lessen. But as COVID conditions allow, the plan is to get students and teachers back into classrooms together and to continue to use technology when it is the right tool to enhance learning and engage students. This Technology Levy will replace the expiring levy so that we can continue providing an excellent academic experience for Edina students.
Can I vote for one ballot question and not the other?
It is possible to vote for either the levy or the bond, and not the other. However, the bond issue will only pass if the technology levy also passes. The School Board voted to prioritize the technology levy in this way because of the important funding support it provides for learning, staffing and operational areas.
Is a certain number of voters, or a certain percentage of the votes, needed to pass the levy and bond questions?
Each would pass with a simple majority of the votes cast. As noted above, the Technology Levy must be approved in order for the bond issue to pass.
Why did the district add a bond issue to this election?
Plans for a vote on a new Technology Levy have been on the radar for a long time as we knew the current levy would expire in June 2022. With the specified facility projects also needed, it was decided to bring both the levy and a Bond Issue to fund the facility improvements to voters at the same time, rather than come back to voters within a short time asking for the bond issue.
Don’t we already receive state funding for schools? Why do we need this levy?
All public schools in Minnesota receive funding from the state, however it is not enough to cover the complete cost of educating our children. This is why districts turn to their local taxpayers for support.
This chart shows the district’s General Fund revenue sources for the 2019-20 school year. The General Fund is the primary financial resource with 80% going to pay for instruction, students support and special education.
I don’t have kids in school, why should I pay for a school levy?
Schools are the heart of most communities and this is certainly true in Edina. Our students enjoy broad support from the entire Edina community, and they in turn find many ways to engage and contribute to the community, always proudly representing Edina in their travels, activities and competitions. Research shows that the number one reason people choose to live in Edina is because of the district’s reputation for academic excellence. This helps maintain property values for everyone in the community and creates a vibrant community culture. A strong school district is good for everyone in the community.
Didn’t Edina voters just approve a levy and/or a bond?
There are three voter-approved levies or bonds currently applied to properties in Edina:
- 2011 - Voters approved a 10-year technology levy which expires in June 2022.
- May 2015 - Voters approved a 20-year $125 million bond issue for construction of additions and remodeling that was done at every school under the Next Generation Facilities Plan.
- November 2017 - Voters approved a 10-year $22.8 million operating levy for the general fund and operations of the district.