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The news site of St. Francis High School

The SFHS Crier

The news site of St. Francis High School

The SFHS Crier

Saint Francis Area Schools Referendum: A Critical Decision for the Community’s Educational Future

Brielle Edin
Superintendent Karsten Anderson spoke with SFHS Media reporters about the upcoming referendum

As November approaches, the Saint Francis Area community is preparing to make a crucial decision that could shape the future of its education. On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, residents within the Saint Francis Area Schools district will cast their votes in a referendum aimed at providing additional funding for the betterment of their schools and the quality of education provided to the next generation.

“Saint Francis Area Public Schools receive $1,347 less per pupil than the average in the state of Minnesota and that’s largely because right now we have a $0 voter approved operating levy referendum. Whereas 70% of schools in the state have a voter approved operating levy referendum,” said St. Francis Area Schools Karsten Anderson.

What’s at Stake?

Strong Future is the name of the referendum effort. 

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“It described our plans if one or both of the questions pass on November 7th,” said Anderson.

According to the district website, the school district’s strategic investment plan is designed to strengthen various aspects of education, including vocational and trade programs, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) initiatives, technological advancements, and staff recruitment and retention.

Two essential ballot questions will be posed to district residents on November 7:

  1. Question One: This 10-year, $325 per student operating levy could infuse the district with an additional $1.5 million each year. This additional funding is envisioned to enhance the overall educational experience for students and improve staff support.
  2. Question Two: A 10-year, $880,000 annual capital projects levy that would provide funding for necessary capital improvements in the district’s facilities.

 “If it doesn’t pass we will need to delay some of the plans we have in place until we get funding in the future,” said Anderson, “but we will still really value the goals.” 

Financial Impact and Property Taxes

For homeowners, the financial implications are an important consideration. If both questions are approved, a home with an estimated value of $375,000 would experience a monthly tax increase of $9 for Question One and $5 for Question Two, resulting in a total monthly increase of $14, beginning in 2024. It is important to note that tax impacts are dependent on property values.

“To determine the estimated tax impact on your property,” Anderson said, “you can utilize the Tax Calculator found on the school’s website.” 

Resources for Informed Decision-Making

The Saint Francis Area Schools district is determined to provide residents with the resources they need to make informed choices. The district offered opportunities for the public to learn more about the “Strong Future” referendum and its potential impact.

Referendum Community Presentation: In September, the school district held a public meeting to present information about the referendum and answer questions from residents. If you couldn’t attend, the presentation is available for viewing online.

Referendum Website: For a comprehensive understanding of the district’s proposed plan, its cost, projected tax implications, voting details, and answers to frequently asked questions, visit the referendum’s dedicated website.

Referendum Video: In a short 90-second video, residents can get an overview of the key points related to the referendum.

How and When to Vote

“I think it’s important for anyone to vote either in favor of or against the referendum and it’s because whenever there’s a chance to vote, people should learn about the issues and vote their opinions,” said Anderson.

Residents are presented with three options for casting their votes on the referendum. They can either vote by absentee ballot, early in person, or on the official Election Day, which falls on November 7, 2023. For more information on the voting process, visit the dedicated voting page at

As the community approaches this pivotal decision, Saint Francis Area Schools is committed to ensuring that residents are well-informed about the potential benefits and implications of the “Strong Future” referendum. The results of this vote will not only impact the present but also hold the power to shape the educational landscape of the Saint Francis Area for years to come.

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