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  • What is an Operating Levy Referendum?

    • This is a request of voters to increase taxes for the purpose of providing for the day to day costs of operating a school district. Operating levies include funding teachers, support staff, classroom materials and school operations. “Levies are for learning and bonds are for building” is a phrase that describes the difference between operating levies and bond referendums.

    What is the exact question for the Operating Levy Referendum?

    • The board of Independent School District No. 13 (Columbia Heights Public Schools), Minnesota has proposed to revoke the School District’s existing referendum revenue authorization of $308.93 per pupil and replace that authorization with a new authorization of $827 per pupil, subject to an annual increase at the rate of inflation. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would be first levied in 2023 for taxes payable in 2024 and applicable for ten (10) years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.
    • Shall the revocation of the existing referendum authorization and the new authorization proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 13 (Columbia Heights Public Schools), Minnesota be approved?

    When was the last time Columbia Heights Public Schools District had a voter-approved Operating Levy Referendum? (pre-2023 vote)

    • Voters approved a renewal of the Operating Levy in 2014 with no increase in the amount per student.

    How much money did the District ask of taxpayers for the 2014 Levy Referendum?

    • When voters approved the 2014 Operating Levy, it renewed the existing operational levy which extended it for an additional ten years and continued the $308.93 per student that CHPS receives annually through the Operating Levy. CHPS has received the same amount of $308.93 since 2005 (18 years.)

    Did the passage of the 2014 Operating Levy increase my taxes?

    • Because it was a straight renewal of the existing operational levy, there was no tax increase for a home valued at the same amount prior to the approval of the operating levy. Columbia Heights Public Schools continued to receive $308.93 for each student annually for educational costs. 

    How much would the 2023 Operating Levy increase my taxes if it passes?

    • The average home in the CHPS boundary is valued at $245,000 and the anticipated tax impact would be approximately $7.75 per month on an average valued home.

    What else is affecting the amount that property taxes will go up if this passes?

    • CHPS had debt from 1996 Bonds that were paid off in tax year 2023, so that decreased the school district portion of property taxes by approximately $4.25 per month on an average home valued at $245,000.

    When would CHPS receive the additional funding if the Operating Levy referendum passes?

    • The school year 2024-2025 is when the district would receive additional funding. This will be a “revoke and replace” of the 2014 levy referendum that was set to expire with the 2026-2027 school year.

    Do renters directly have to pay for an Operating Levy or Capital Project Levy?

    • No, only property owners in Columbia Heights Public Schools boundaries directly pay these levies.

    What is the term length of the 2023 Operating Levy?

    • The 2023 Operating Levy is a 10-year levy. The school district would first receive these funds in fiscal year 2025 and would continue to receive these funds through fiscal year 2035. The school board would be presented with annual updates on progress of the 2023 Operating Levy and the annual updates on the 2023 Operating Levy would be found on the District website.