Dr. Joey Page: New school year is just around the corner

Published 5:20 pm Friday, August 5, 2022

Hello, and welcome back to Austin Public Schools, where there’s no such thing as a slow time. Over the summer, our staff has been working hard to provide students and families with enrichment opportunities, including summer school, E3, and Packer in Training for our littlest learners. Last week, we welcomed back our Sumner and Woodson students on the 45/15 schedule, and with a new school year on the horizon for the rest of our students, I thought it would be a good time to share some of what’s coming up at Austin Public Schools.

Our teachers and staff will return to their buildings on Aug. 22 for a week of training and preparation. On Thursday, Aug. 25, we will be welcoming Mark Perna to speak to our staff. This opportunity will be open to the public, and more information will be coming soon.

The traditional calendar will officially begin on Monday, Aug. 29. Be sure to remember the adjusted bell times at IJ Holton, Ellis, and Austin High School. You can always find information about school start and end times, contact information, updated school calendars, and news and updates via our website at https://austin.k12.mn.us.

Looking ahead, anticipation is building regarding the November referendum that will help shape the future of our schools. As part of the Nov. 8 general election, Austin area voters will consider one ballot question seeking to increase the school operating levy by $470 per student for the next 10 years. Without increased funding, the district faces a $3 million deficit ahead of the 2023-2024 school year.

If approved, the additional funding would go directly towards stabilizing our operating budget, which supports teacher and staff salaries, supplies, transportation and educational programming. Under the proposed plan, an average homeowner with a home valued at $170,000 could expect to see a property tax increase of $12 a month.

This is an important decision for our community, and voters in the Austin School District will make their decision on Nov. 8. To learn more about this school investment plan, I encourage you to visit AccelerateAustin.com. There, you will find a tax calculator to determine your specific impact, as well as answers to frequently asked questions and information about voting. You can reach me directly at 507-460-1900 or joey.page@austin.k12.mn.us.

Thank you and enjoy the rest of your summer!