Fast Facts about District Finances

The following is a brief overview of financial information for West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area Schools.

  • The amount of school taxes paid by residents of School District 197 is lower than neighboring and other like-sized metro districts.

Chart - Comparing School Taxes in Neighboring Districts

  • In 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 School District 197 received a School Finance Award from the Minnesota Department of Education.
  • In 2014 the district’s bond rating was upgraded from Standard and Poor’s A+ to AA-. learn more
  • The district's average general fund spending per pupil is approximately $11,000. This is consistent with the average of other metro school districts.
  • In the summer of 2012 the district was able to take advantage of low interest rates and completed a bond refunding, reducing its debt service levies for taxes payable, beginning in 2014. This refunding, which is similar to refinancing, will save district property owners (not the district) $5.5 million over 10 years.
  • Independent auditing firm Malloy, Montague, Karnowski, Radosevich & Co., PA, (MMKR) gave the district a “clean opinion” — the highest rating an auditor can give — of its finances for 2016-17, citing good record keeping and financial accounting. learn more
  • The district’s current outstanding debt from bonds of $37.9 million is well below that of neighboring and like-sized school districts. A recent check of neighboring and like-sized metro school districts showed that the amount of debt carried by other districts varied widely. School District 197 is well below the group average, however, of $102 million (FY 2017).
  • In 2013 the district switched from fully-insured employee healthcare and dental plans to self-insured (self-funded) plans in order to offer employees the same coverage, while creating stability in rates and controlling costs year-to-year.
  • As of 2014, District 197 no longer needs to borrow funds to meet its regular expenditures – the first time this had occurred in more than a decade. The practice of borrowing money to meet monthly expenses has become an annual practice for many Minnesota school districts due to lengthy delays in the state’s disbursement of education funding. However, this year the state’s metering of payments has returned to its regular schedule, allowing school districts to avoid short-term borrowing costs. For five years prior to 2014, School District 197 had to spend between $50,000-$100,000 each year in interest and fees associated with cash-flow borrowing. learn more
  • According to the Morris Leatherman Company, which administers the District’s annual community survey, the majority of District 197 residents believe the District spends tax money effectively and efficiently, and has spent past technology and operating levy referendum funds responsibly. In fact, the percentage of residents who said they thought the district spends taxpayers’ money effectively is higher than the norm of Minnesota metro school districts. learn more