Paraprofessional Appreciation Week: Paraprofessionals are individuals who work in a variety of positions in our school district. Their roles include, but are not limited to those who work as instructional assistants, Title 1 support, special education paraprofessionals, lunch room and playground assistants, hall monitors, media center assistants, and more! Our paras do so much to help our children learn and our teachers teach! Be sure to thank our paraprofessionals and demonstrate appreciation for their committed service to our students. Building Project: The secondary construction project continues, and we’re planning to work from the new office when students return on January 22nd. Completion of the gym floor and stage progress as expected. Please stop in and make arrangements if interested in a tour of our new facility. Un-equalized Funding is Unfair to District Taxpayers and Students: When the 2013 session of the Minnesota Legislature convened Jan. 8, equalization aid will be among the top legislative priorities for the Eden Valley–Watkins School District during a critical session that will determine
Published on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 15:15
E-12 education funding for the next two years. Equalization aid was established by the Legislature in 1991 to make the cost of a local school levy dollar uniform for all Minnesota taxpayers, regardless of the amount of commercial and industrial property where they live. Equalization is a match of state aid that provides tax relief for property owners in low property wealth districts, like the EV-W School District, which have a comparatively small commercial and industrial base upon which to spread taxes. It equalizes the tax cost with that of property owners in high-wealth districts, like Hopkins and Minnetonka, which benefit from a large commercial and industrial tax base. Equalization aid works. The problem is, the equalizing factor – the denominator used to calculate the aid percentage for each district – has not been adjusted since 1993 and has not kept pace with the rise in property values over the past
20 years. The EV-W School District has received a smaller and smaller percentage of equalization aid from the state and, as a result, more and more of the cost is being paid by district property owners. As a result, voters in low-wealth districts throughout rural Minnesota have to pay more property taxes to get the same or less school levy revenue as a high-wealth district. This imbalance, combined with the increased reliance on local levy referendums for basic school funding, is resulting in a widening gap between the quality of education that can be offered to students in low-wealth districts, where levies cost homeowners more, and high-wealth districts, where levies cost less and are easier to pass. Eden Valley–Watkins is a member of Schools for Equity in Education (SEE), an organization of 61 school districts that lobby for adequate and equitable funding for E-12 education in Minnesota. SEE produced a three-minute video to help explain the equalization issue to citizens and legislators. Just type, Minnesota’s Educational Opportunity Gap, or the following YouTube address (www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Thailal4iZs) Consider contacting your legislators to ask that they fully equalize education funding during the 2013 session. To get a list of your representatives with contact information, use the District Finder on the Minnesota Legislature website (www.leg.state.mn.us) and type in your address. Senior of the Week: The EV-W School District would like to recognize Abbie Swenson, daughter of Steve and Karen. Abby excels in the academic arena and plans to graduate with 22 college credits on her transcript. She’s involved with National Honor Society, Student Council, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and serves as a team captain in gymnastics. The EVW administration, faculty and staff are extremely proud of your accomplishments. Congratulations!