In Minnesota, the state does not provide aid to school districts for technology needs. School districts ask voters to approve technology levies. Voters in a portion of Medina and Independence will see a technology referendum on their ballots on Nov. 3.
Orono’s technology levy is set to expire in 2021. A total annual levy of $1,039,860 provides the school district with $325 per pupil. Neighboring school districts, such as Wayzata and Minnetonka, have levies that provide from $519 to $1,416 per pupil, according to Orono School District officials.
The Orono School Board is asking voters for the authority to replace the current technology levy with a new levy spanning the next 10 years. The owner of a median value home of $400,000 would pay an additional $6.50 per month in property taxes, according to the school district. The proposed authorization would raise roughly $1,988,720 in taxes payable in 2021.
If voters turn down the levy request, technology funding would have to come from the general fund. Technology needs would compete with classroom needs. “The district will be required to make difficult decisions to balance the budget,” said Superintendent Karen Orcutt.