Aitkin Public Schools announced on Thursday the launch of a new website – AllFor1Aitkin.org – to provide residents with information about the school district’s capital projects levy referendum that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

If approved, the levy would provide $900,000 annually to the district over a 10-year period to help stabilize the district’s operating budget and provide critical renovations and repairs to school buildings.

The new website offers a wide variety of information about the school district’s needs, details about the plan, effects on taxpayers and how and when to vote.

“Our goal is to present voters with a plan that helps address our ongoing challenges while providing taxpayers with the best value for their money,” said Aitkin Superintendent Dan Stifter.

Over the last four years, Aitkin Schools has been forced to make over $1 million in cuts to teaching positions and student services as state funding failed to keep up with rising costs.

Even with these cost-saving measures, the district is facing an $808,000 deficit for the 2022-2023 school year.

Additionally, school buildings require significant repairs and upgrades in infrastructure, air quality and technology.

If approved, the capital projects levy would provide funding to make improvements in school buildings without cutting into operating funds that support faculty and staff, supplies and student programs and services.

In addition, the district will use one-time federal assistance funds to pay for expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and use recently mandated state funding to cover some inflationary costs over the next two years.

The estimated cost of the capital projects levy on an Aitkin County home with a median value of $180,000 would be approximately $6 per month. An operating referendum would have been about $15 a month.

Residents with questions or suggestions can contact Superintendent Dan Stifter at dstifter@isd1.org or 218-927-2115 ext 3420.

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