A 10-year, $7 million technology levy and a $7 million bond issue for Edina Public Schools have been approved by Edina voters.
The technology levy, which will replace the current levy expiring June 2022, supports all aspects of technology in the district and related staffing. The bond issue will go toward the expansion of bus garage facilities and provide improvements for traffic control at elementary schools.
Edina voters were asked to vote on the two issues at a referendum May 11. A total of 5,448 votes were cast, according to a school district press release. Voters supporting the levy numbered 3,853, while 3,825 voters supported the bond issue. Vote “NO” numbers were at 1,593 for the technology levy and 1,617 for the bond issue.
“We are grateful to the community for the approval of these important funding requests,” Superintendent John Schultz said in the press release. “The Edina community has a long history of support for its students and teachers, and this vote is further proof of that. We thank voters for their ongoing trust.”
The technology levy includes funding for hardware and software, network and firewall infrastructure, security devices, technology-related staff and online information platforms such as Infinite Campus, Schoology and SeeSaw.
The new annual $7 million technology levy is an increase of $500,000 over the expiring $6.5 million levy.
One reason for this rise was that textbooks have become increasingly digital, Steve Buettner, director of media and technology services for the district, said at a January Edina School Board meeting. Online textbooks, which will accompany the physical textbooks used in class, often require subscription services, he said.
He also said in a district press release that the increase was needed in order to keep pace with increasing costs and other changing needs, such as adaptive technology.
Compared to other area school districts, Edina’s technology levy falls in the middle of the range. Eden Prairie and Bloomington have a higher technology levy compared to the $7 million, while Minnetonka and Richfield have lower technology levies.
The $7 million bond issue will fund a variety of improvements in the district, especially those that are transportation-related.
The district currently contracts for 14 special-education bus routes. With the new bond issue, the district plans to buy buses to shift special education transportation to an in-house operation. The district estimated that this will save Edina Schools between $140,000 and $280,000 per year. The bus garage will need more space as a result.
The bond will also fund improvements to the parking lot areas for Countryside Elementary and Valley View Middle School, and the bus loop and parking areas at Creek Valley Elementary. Work on bond-funded projects will begin in the summer of 2022.
For the bond, the estimated tax impact for a resident with a home value of $600,000 is $10. The technology levy increase of $500,000 will result in an increase of $24 annually for a home valued at $600,000.
To see votes by precinct, go to edinaschools.org/page/6916.
– Follow Caitlin Anderson on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated when the current 10-year technology levy is set to expire. The current 10-year technology levy will expire June 2022. This article was also edited to clarify that the bond issue is a one-time amount, totaling $7 million.
Editor's note: This story was updated to include more information from Edina Public Schools' on the technology levy and bond issue.