07-22-2021 Message to Families

Dear Parents,

I hope you and your child(ren) are well and enjoying the long summer days. As school supply displays appear in stores and new school guidance from the CDC is discussed by media outlets, I would like to share a few updates with you.

COVID-19 Update: Vaccines, Face Coverings, and Learning Models

The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be our highest priority. You may have heard about new guidance the CDC recently issued regarding the 2021-2022 school year, which has generated a few questions about the upcoming school year. Keep in mind that these are guidelines, not mandates, and we are not obligated to follow CDC guidance. STMA will continue to review guidance from the MN Department of Education (MDE) and MN Department of Health (MDH) as we continue to make decisions based on what is best for STMA students.

Please see below for information regarding face coverings, vaccinations, and learning models for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Face coverings will not be required in 2021-2022 unless families choose otherwise.
  • Face coverings will be required on buses per President Biden’s Executive Order, which regulates all forms of public transportation. It is not an option for any school district to disregard the requirement. Failure to follow the mandate could result in loss of licensure and/or funding.
  • STMA will not require COVID-19 vaccinations for the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Students and staff who have not been vaccinated will not be identified or segregated from others. They will be welcomed by all.
  • Classes will be in-person, five days a week for all levels (preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and secondary).
  • All families will have an online learning option via STMA Online. STMA Online offers interactive online courses to students that want or need a virtual option. Courses are aligned to MN state standards and are taught by licensed STMA teachers. The program is different than distance learning with varying levels of interaction with teachers and peers based on grade level. To learn more, visit the STMA Online webpage, watch this video, or contact Principal Mark Jansen.
  • We will maintain social distancing when and where it is possible.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols will continue to be implemented in all district buildings and buses.
  • Families will be expected to keep children home when they are sick or showing signs of illness.

2021-2022 School Year

The new school year starts in a few short weeks. Students in grades 5-12 start on September 7. Students in grades K-4 have orientation on September 7 or 8 and their first day of school is September 9. For additional information, watch for the blue school calendar in the mail in early August as well as communication from your child’s principal. Click here to review the 2021-2022 STMA School Calendar and here for school start times. 

School Supplies

School supply lists are available on school websites and by clicking the links below.

Welcome Back, Volunteers and Visitors!

We are excited to welcome our visitors and volunteers back to our school buildings this year. If you are interested in volunteering and contributing to our tradition of excellence, please contact your child’s building. As always, safety is our highest priority so all volunteers need a background check. Click here to learn more about background checks. We’re excited to have you back!

Join the STMA Team

If you or someone you know is looking for part- or full-time work, consider joining our team and become part of our tradition of excellence. We will be hosting a job fair on August 17 in the STMA Middle School West Media Center from 3:30-8:00 p.m. Join us to hear about openings for paraprofessionals, food service, custodians, childcare workers, substitute teachers, and more. Interviews will be onsite and HR will help with applications. Click here to visit our employment webpage.


The district is working with Don's Bus to create bus routes for the 2021-2022 school year. All families should have received an email from the district regarding the process. Please note that all changes and fees for service need to be received by August 13. Bus stops and times will be posted in the ParentVUE portal the week of August 9. Email transportation@mystma.org with questions.

2021 Legislative Session

At the end of June, state legislative leaders reached an agreement on the E-12 education budget. Most of the funding went to basic formula increases, 2.45% in FY2022 and 2.0% in FY2023. There is also a small amount for special education ($10.5 million one-time dollars) and English Language Learners ($4 million ongoing) cross subsidies. For STMA, this means an additional $1.2 million for FY2022 and $930,000 for FY2023.

On June 21, the school board approved a preliminary FY2022 budget which is required every year by June 30. This preliminary general fund budget had a deficit spend of approximately $1.4 million. The fund balance of 10% is below the board target of 12%.

On July 12, the school board approved a revised FY2022 budget. Typically, a revised budget isn’t brought forward so soon but we wanted to include the 2.45%/2% basic formula increases in advance of any significant policy decisions. When the 2.45% increase was applied to our general fund budget, along with updated expenditure projections, we still have a deficit of $819,915 for FY2022 and our fund balance is 10.8% (target is 12%). Even with the 2% basic formula increase in FY2023 our budget outlook is projected to worsen with a deficit spend of $4.5 million and a fund balance of just 4.1%. FY2024 through FY2026 show large deficits and negative fund balances. In response to the large deficits in the revised budget, the school board approved a hiring freeze until January 3, 2022. 

Again, it is important to note that our budget situation is due to unexpected costs associated with the pandemic and a significant decrease in student enrollment.

Possible Operating Levy

In February the school board formed a Steering Team to explore the possibility of an operating levy in November 2021.

In June after much discussion and careful review of data, the Steering Team made a recommendation to the school board to move forward with an operating levy. Per statute, the school board must make a decision by August 2. After the school board makes a decision, additional information will be shared with stakeholders. In the interim, click here to review information on the district web site. Questions can be sent to STMAlevy@mystma.org.

Keep Checking Your Inbox

Transparency and honest communication is an important value to our school district. Continue to check your inbox for important communication regarding the upcoming school year, extracurriculars, food service, transportation, and more.

We are here to serve students and their families. We will continue to put students first and move forward with students at the center of each and every decision. We are confident the challenges ahead are temporary and we are committed to our strong tradition of excellence, being a great investment for taxpayers, and continuing to be one of the best school districts in Minnesota.


Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault 

STMA Superintendent