The Northfield School District is committed to our vision of preparing every student for lifelong success. We are also committed to stewardship — one of our six strategic commitments. The district is asking voters to renew and expand the capital projects levy, last passed in 2011, to maintain that dedication to stewardship.
The capital projects levy provides the district with funds to:
Maintain and improve facilities and grounds. We take care of the resources that the taxpayers have provided. By combining the capital projects levy with other funding resources, we have the financial flexibility to complete preventative maintenance projects that ensure our facilities operate well and avoid costly emergency repairs. The funds also provide the opportunity for modest updates to facilities to meet the ongoing changes to instruction. One example of these updates is the conversion of a regular classroom into a dedicated science classroom at Bridgewater Elementary School completed by our district maintenance team. Another example is the recent purchase of a used plow truck to help keep our parking lots clear of snow this winter. These funds can also be used to improve safety, such as the district’s recent security camera upgrades.
Purchase materials and equipment for students and staff. We all want our students and staff to have the necessary materials and equipment to support learning and the effective operations of our schools. The district leases the technology that staff and students use. We recently updated our science curriculum to ensure our students can have hands-on experiences that bring the scientific process to life. The district has invested in its vocational programs — including updating equipment in the high school woodshop. Adding a new panel sander and a GlowForge 3-D laser printer gives students access to the latest equipment to learn much-needed technical skills.
Relieving pressure on the general fund. As good stewards, we work diligently to ensure financial stability and use our taxpayer dollars wisely. In 2022, the district completed a multi-year budget prioritization process that yielded approximately $4.5 million in reductions due to chronic state underfunding and declining enrollment. The district has assigned the bulk of its remaining federal COVID-19 relief funds to offset some of those reductions. Expanding the capital projects levy allows moving the salaries and benefits of eligible technology services team members out of the general fund, giving approximately $500,000 in relief and reducing the amount of future budget reductions. These technicians are the only employees whose salary and benefits can be paid from the capital projects levy.
There will be two questions on the ballot — one to renew the existing capital projects levy and one asking for an increase — both for ten years. If both questions pass, the capital projects levy will generate $1.65 million of revenue vs. the existing $750,000. Capital projects levies are calculated on a specific tax rate. For over a decade, the district has under-levied the capital projects levy to align with what it told voters in 2011. If renewed, the district would levy at the approved tax rate so that as the district’s tax base grows, so does the district’s revenue. The district has been grateful for our community’s generosity in the past and respect that taxpayers fund the levies. If both questions pass, the property taxes on a $350,000 home are projected to increase by $81 per year (or $6.75 per month). We do not take any tax increase proposal lightly.
If you would like to know more, visit northfieldschools.org/cpl. You can also attend a public meeting about the levy on either Sept. 22 or Oct. 6. Both meetings will be held in the district office (formerly Longfellow) gymnasium from 6-7:15 p.m.
I am thankful every day to get to do this job in this place. Northfield is an amazing place to raise children. I appreciate the voters’ consideration of this request to maintain our competitive advantage as a school district.