This year our community is being asked to consider an operating levy question for our school district. This operating levy will allow the school district to maintain the quality education the Thief River Falls schools provides and assist the district to meet the needs of our 21st century students.
An operating levy is for operations, not buildings.
Our current operating levy has maintained the same level of support for our district since 2004. But, just like your own budgets, things become more expensive over the years. You hopefully get a cost of living wage increase, because if you don't, you'll spend down your savings. This is what is happening to TRF schools.
For this operating levy, the district is seeking additional funds for many different purchases:
- Strategic Plan Implementation: There are costs associated with this implementation. In order to fully implement this strategic plan, we will need to hire more teachers, purchase updated curriculum, and ensure our staff has the training needed to CREATE the future.
- Technology: Technology has become an integral part of how the classroom functions. The quality of technology tools made available, along with a systematic approach, can improve the level of education delivered to, and ultimately the performance, of our students. As a district, we were well-equipped to meet our student needs through personal devices when the pandemic hit. With the lessons we have learned through this experience, we fully anticipate using these devices as our new normal. We need to continue to be relevant and ensure our students have what they need to stay relevant in the 21st century. This includes updating chromebooks, ipads, hot spots, smartboards, and keeping our network infastructure up to date.
- Salaries and Benefits: As you know, salaries and benefits take a huge percentage of our budget (appproximately 80% of our general revenue, is for staff). The current benefits we offer have not been competetive over the years. With regards to benefits, we are currently the lowest paid district across the state.
Please consider these factors on Nov. 3.