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Editorial: Voters should get informed about levy

There was a table set up at Rosemount Middle School's sixth grade orientation event Tuesday with information about the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District's upcoming levy vote. There were flyers laying out information about what the district is asking voters to approve, what it will mean to their tax bills if the measure passes and what it will mean for the district if it doesn't.

At least early on, there didn't seem to be much interest in the information on the table. And maybe that's understandable. Students and parents were focused on picking up schedules, trying out lockers, finding classrooms. Their minds were on what is going to happen Sept. 3, not Nov. 5.

The district started the process of getting the word out two weeks ago when it announced plans to seek the levy, which would replace an existing levy with one that will bring in an additional $10 million per year. That will help avoid what could be as much as $10 million in budget adjustments the district expects to make in the 2014-15 school year without a successful levy. It will help with another $20 million in cuts likely necessary in 2015-16.

A successful levy would cost the owner of a $225,000 home — the district average — about $15 per month.

This week, the district offered a look at what might be cut if its levy does not pass. The list included programs such as ninth-grade B-squad sports, fifth grade band and developmental psychology, a class that sends high school seniors to district middle schools to talk about the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol.

There will be more information in the weeks ahead. There will be more ways for residents to get informed before they vote. We hope everyone takes advantage. Support it or oppose it, we hope voters at least make informed decisions.