Fridley voted Tuesday to revoke and replace Fridley Public Schools’ existing operating levy, with 59.77% of voters (1,129 people) approving and 40.23% (760 people) voting against the new levy.
“We are very, very grateful to our community for their support,” said Jael McLemore, communications and community relations director of Fridley Public Schools.
District Superintendent Kim Hiel also thanked the community for its support of the district.
“Our community’s support will provide much needed funding for academic and student support services,” Hiel said in a statement. “We value the high quality academic programs Fridley provides, and we are truly thankful to our community and voters for their trust and confidence that we will continue to prepare our students for college and careers through our rigorous academic programs.”
The levy will revoke and replace the existing levy, renewed in 2015. The revocation will be effective after taxes payable in 2019.
The levy will increase taxes by $88 a year for a home valued at $150,000, according to the district.
On Aug. 20, the district proposed the new levy of $497.43 per student, an increase of $310 per student, with inflationary increases each year for 10 years. In its first year, 2020, the new levy will provide $1.5 million for students in the district.
The current levy is $187.43 per pupil, which would have expired in 2026, had it not been revoked. This levy did not include inflationary increases, but it’s common for school districts to include such increases in referendum proposals, said Fridley Director of Finance and Operations Todd Tillung.
The state average for school levy operating referendums and board-approved local optional revenue is $1,357 per student, and the metro average is $1,687, whereas Fridley currently gets $911.43 per student. These numbers don’t include state funding or aid.
The school district gets $724 in board-approved revenue per student, not including the $187.43 it receives from the levy renewed in 2015.
Now that the referendum has passed, Fridley’s new local funding amount per student is $1,221.43, still below state average for per-pupil funding.
This story has been updated to reflect the current number of votes from the Secretary of State's website.