This site provides information for taxpayers of Independent School District 535 – Rochester Public Schools, regarding how the district’s proposed referendum may affect property taxes. The site was prepared in cooperation with Ehlers,  the district’s independent municipal advisor. If you have questions about the information on this site, please contact Ehlers using the information provided below.


About the Referendum

The district will hold a special election on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 seeking voter approval of two ballot questions.

Absentee Voting will begin on September 20th, 2019. Vote early at the Edison Building (615 7th Street SW, Rochester MN 55902) from 8:00 AM – 4:45 PM Monday through Friday. Enter through Door 2 and proceed to the Office of Business Services.

Absentee Voting will also be available at the Edison Building on Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

Question 1 will address capacity at the elementary and middle schools, safety at all school sites, additional land purchases for future elementary and high school growth, and auditorium upgrades at all three high schools. The investment for the projects included in the first question is $171.4 million. Specifically, question one proposes:

  • Building a new elementary school on existing land in NW Rochester
  • Reconstructing Bishop and Longfellow Elementary Schools
  • Building a new middle school
  • The purchase of land for additional growth (on March 19, 2019 the district secured land with a purchase agreement contingent on the referendum passing.)
  • Upgrades to safety and security at all school buildings
  • Upgrades to the three high school auditoriums

Question 2, contingent on the first question passing, will address closing the middle school pools to save money/reduce operating costs, in addition to building a new pool at Century HS and updating the pool dive well at Mayo HS. The investment for the projects included in the second question is $9.5 million.  

For more information on how these funds would be used, return to the District’s website.

Impact on Property Taxes

Approval of the ballot questions would result in a property tax increase beginning with taxes payable in 2020, and the debt service tax levies would remain in place for 20 years. To determine your estimated 2020 school district property taxes, follow the instructions below or view sample property types and values here.

Your 2020 taxes will be based on the 2019 Estimated Market Value (EMV), which was provided on the “Notice of Valuation and Classification” mailed by your county in March 2019 (see example). If you don’t have that document available, please contact your county and ask for the 2019 EMV for taxes payable in 2020, or follow the instructions below to look up your 2019 EMV on your county’s website.

Olmsted County
Assessor - (507) 328-7670

Click on the link below, choose the way to look for your property, and select “Agree” on the following screen. Input your search criteria and click “Search”. Select your parcel from the results screen on the left. On the right side of the screen under “Reports”, choose “Valuation Notice” and click “Go”. Use the value shown for “Estimated Market Value” in the tax calculator below.

Olmsted County Property Search

Wabasha County
Assessor - (651) 565-3669

Click on the link below, choose the state of MN and county of Wabasha and then click “Property Search”. Enter the search criteria for your property and click Search. Choose your parcel from the search results screen on the left. Scroll down to the “Valuation” section and use the “Estimated Market Value” shown for the most recent assessment year in the tax calculator below.

Wabasha County Property Search


Residential Homestead Property
If you own a RESIDENTIAL HOMESTEAD property, enter the Estimated Market Value below to see the estimated tax impact
Enter only whole numbers to the nearest dollar
(no dollar signs, commas, or decimals).
Commercial / Industrial Property
If you own COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL property, enter the Estimated Market Value below to see the estimated tax impact.
Enter only whole numbers to the nearest dollar
(no dollar signs, commas, or decimals).
Agricultural Property
If you own agricultural or other types of property, please complete the following form and submit it to Ehlers. Once we receive, an Ehlers representative will contact your county to find the value and classification of your property, calculate the tax impact and contact you via phone or email with the results.  Please allow 1-3 days for completion. PLEASE NOTE: you may enter up to 10 property IDs by clicking the "+" button at the end of each row. For more than 10 properties, please contact Ehlers.
If you have any questions, please call Ehlers at 1-800-552-1171 and ask to speak with a member of our Education Team.

School Building Bond Agricultural Credit

This property tax credit originally took effect with property taxes payable in 2018.  For taxes payable in 2020, the credit reduces taxes for owners of agricultural property in an amount equivalent to 50% of the taxes attributable to school district debt service for all agricultural property, except for the house, garage, and one acre.  This credit is directly deducted from property taxes owed and applies to debt service levies for all types of existing and future bonds for construction and renovation projects.  For taxes payable in 2018 and 2019, the credit was equivalent to 40%.  The State is phasing in an increase to the credit, it will be 55% for taxes payable in 2021, 60% for taxes payable in 2022, and for taxes payable 2023 and later the credit will be 70%.  The credit is paid through an open and standing appropriation, which means that no action by the Legislature is required each year for this credit to be paid from the state general fund.  The credit is automatically deducted on the tax statement and is included in the tax impact estimates provided by Ehlers.

There are certain Minnesota Tax Credits and Deferrals that may affect certain property owners’ situations. They include:

Minnesota Homestead Credit Refund

If your adjusted gross income is less than approximately $113,150, you may qualify for the Homestead Credit Refund (also known as the “Circuit Breaker” refund). This program, which has existed since the 1970s, is intended to reduce tax burdens for homeowners with relatively low incomes and relatively high property tax burdens. Some important facts about this program are summarized below.

  • Available each year to owners of homestead property
  • Applies only to the taxes attributable to the house, garage, and one acre on agricultural homestead property
  • Available to all owners of residential homestead and agricultural homestead property with household incomes of less than $113,150
  • Refund is on a sliding scale, based on your income and your total property tax burden
  • The maximum refund is $2,770
  • Also available to renters
  • To determine eligibility and refund amounts, complete Minnesota tax form M1PR
Special Property Tax Refund

If your total property taxes increase by more than 12 percent and more than $100 from one year to the next, you may qualify for a state refund equal to a portion of the increase. There is no income limit for this refund.

To determine eligibility and refund amounts, complete Minnesota tax form M1PR.

Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral

If you are 65 years or older and have a household income of $60,000 or less, you may be eligible to defer a portion of the property taxes on your home, through the Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program. The program:

  • Limits the maximum amount of property tax you pay to 3 percent of your total household income
  • Provides predictability; the amount of tax you pay will not change for as long as you participate in this program