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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester School Board appears ready to begin discussing the possibility of scheduling an operating levy referendum to address a looming budget shortfall in the Rochester School District.

The issue is on the agenda for a study session of the school board Tuesday evening. The board has not made any decisions and the school district's administration has not made any recommendations but a representative of a company that was hired to survey community members ahead of the successful school bond issue referendum in 2019 has been invited to provide the elected officials with some information about the "mechanics and impacts" of an operating referendum.

A recent financial projection presented to the school board in December predicts the school district will face a $13 million budget shortfall in the 2022-2023 school year. The forecast is based on the school district not receiving any additional revenue with higher expenses associated with future employment contracts and higher operational costs due to the new schools currently under construction.

The school district was successful in getting an operating levy approved in 2015. The nearly $10 million property tax increase passed by a margin of fewer than 250 votes.

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