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July 29, 2020 at 7:30 PM - Special Work Session Meeting

1. Call to Order at 7:30 P.M.

The Greenbush Middle River School Board is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Special School Board Work Session
Time: Jul 29, 2020 07:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 757 7658 1391
Passcode: MFeC1f

2. Roll Call
3. Listening Session
Description:  All speakers are asked to complete the Listening Session Sign-in Form including as much detail as possible and including a printed / written copy of your presentation if one is available. This is an opportunity for the Board to listen, the Board will not engage in dialogue. As a general rule, the Board will not comment on or respond to any comments made by speakers. Please do not include names of Greenbush Middle River employees or representatives, their title, or location in your remarks for your own legal protection and the legal rights of staff.

Each speaker will have five (5) minutes to speak: speakers may not roll their time to another speaker. Speakers will be timed and are asked to complete their comments in this time frame. Board members may ask questions if needed.  Please begin your presentation by stating your name and topic only.
In the spirit of fairness to all participants, we request that you respect the format above. Thank you for taking the time today to attend this meeting and share your concerns and suggestions.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, members of the public may wish to email Board communication(s) to <>
4. Approval of Agenda
4.1. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the agenda of the Special Board Work Session Meeting as presented/amended.
5. Special Work Session Discussion Topics (no official Board action taken on discussion topics)
5.1. Discussion towards possible Operating Referendum during the November 3, 2020 General Election
Description:  Discussion about an operating referendum has been "out there" formally via school board meeting presentations since this past March and informally prior to then.

The decision to request support from district voters is based on a review of the district’s financial condition inadequate state funding and unfunded mandates putting pressure on an already stretched budget:

State funding is not keeping pace with inflation or increasing educational costs.

Using two types of comparative criteria, (1) GMR’s voter-approved operating levy is at the bottom (least) of per pupil referendum amount; and (2) at the bottom (least) of all school taxing authority.  These levies are one way local communities support their schools and help pay for school operating costs. 
If the operating levy is not renewed on or before November 2021, the district will lose $139,872 per year effective with the 2022-2023 requiring even deeper cuts to programs and services.

As the board continues with its decision-making thoughts, they need to keep in mind there is a financial need to maintain programming and school operations, however, the District should continue to reduce expenditures as a response to a declining enrollment trend.

Operating Referendum discussion... and decision based on prescribed timelines.  The most immediate is a formal Board resolution must be submitted to the MDE of Education and Home county auditor on or before August 21.
  • The Board has indicated the GMR School District has "gone out" to its voters two (2) years prior to an operating referendum expiring.  If voters fail to approve the operating referendum, there is at least one (1) more try to get an operating referendum to pass before it expires.
  • Doing so in Nov. will have the school election within the General Election, so the election costs will be through the County not the school district.  An "off year" election would result in the GMR School District absorbing elections costs (eg:  election judges and just the general work effort associated with running an election).
  • Passage of a referendum not really a "moon shot" - major employers (Polaris, Digi-Key, Central Boiler, Marvin Windows, area farmers (with exception of over-amount of rain) and schools as a whole not terribly adversely affected.
  • As a board, you have been very conscious of both the financial needs we have as a school district and the financial challenges that COVID-19 has placed on our community.   A solution that combines on-going budget reductions with an operating levy allows us to partner with our residents, and keep both our schools and our community strong.
  • Legislative Up-date (below) which could affect / improve school referendum tax impact.

A voter approved election is certainly not a shoe-in
  1. School elections are more difficult during a General Election
  2. School elections during COVID-19 may bring hesitancy to voters
  3. Yet-to-be determined legal action in the MR Annexation lawsuit may have some district voters being non-supportive.
  1. Referendum options (per pupil amount or total school taxes for amount that will bring GMR "up" compared to other NW MN Schools.
  1. Election strategy (eg:  Ballot question)
                One question on the ballot
  1. renew
  2. revoke and replace
  3. Revoke and replace and subject to inflation
    Two question option

Schools are an important part of our community fabric, and educating our kids is our number one priority.  The requests are to maintain and increase the funding stream that operates all our schools, and will benefit students.
5.2. COVID-19 and its impact on the start of school this Fall.  Governor Tim Walz Back-to-School Announcement scheduled for July 30, 2020.
Description:  Report on Ad Hoc Back-to-School Committee meeting held on July 28, 2020.  See attached
Attachments: (1)
6. Adjournment
Motion by__________________        Second by ____________________ to ADJOURN

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