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Voters pass 13 school ballot questions endorsed by MRLF, reject 8

From the Minneapols Labor Review, November 15, 2019

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS —Statewide, news media reported, school funding requests on the November 5, 2019 ballot fared well across Minnesota.

In some school districts within the jurisdiction of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, however, voters soundly rejected measures to fund local schools.

The MRLF endorsed 21 school levy or bonding requests in 12 districts. Voters passed 13 and rejected eight.

In eight districts, voters passed all the school funding questions on the ballot. Voters in two districts passed some questions and rejected others. Voters in two other districts rejected all the school funding measures on the ballot.

Annandale (ISD #876)
Question 1: Operating Levy

In the Annandale school district, voters overwhelmingly passed an operating levy with almost 86 percent in favor and a vote of 1,112-185.

Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose (ISD #877)
Question 1: Operating Levy

In the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose school district, an operating levy passed by a vote of 4,233-3,030. The 58 percent “yes” vote stands in contrast to 2018, when a larger operating request failed — with 65 percent voting “no.” The 2018 vote led to $1.3 million in school budget cuts.

This year, a more vigorous grassroots effort helped the operating levy pass.

“We are very thankful that our community supported our schools by voting yes,” said Natalie Polaschek, president of Education Minnesota Buffalo, the teachers union. “We know that the passing of the levy will allow us to continue to provide our district’s current level of services,” Polaschek said. “Passing the levy did not allow us to add back anything that was cut going into the 2019-2020 school year, but it did prevent us from having to make dramatic cuts that would have negatively impacted students.”

Eastern Carver County (ISD #112)
Question 1: Operating Levy
Question 2: Bonding Levy
Question 3: Technology Levy

Voters in the Eastern Carver County School District, with three questions on the ballot, voted “no” on Questions 1 and 2 and “yes” on Question 3.

Question 1, an operating levy, was defeated by a vote of 5,671-5,478 — a margin of just 193 votes. If the question had just been up to Chaska voters, however, the question would have passed.

According to the school district website, “the failure of the operating referendum… means the district will begin immediately to plan for $4.5 million in budget reductions.”

Voters also rejected Question 2, a bond referendum, which would have built a new school. The vote was 5,819 “no” and 5,324 “yes.” Again, if the vote had been just up to Chaska voters, the referendum would have passed.

A majority of voters in the district did approve Question 3, a technology levy. The vote was 6,069-5,067 with strong support from Chaska.

Fridley (ISD #14)
Question 1: Operating Levy

The Fridley operating levy passed with almost 60 percent in favor.

Glencoe-Silver Lake (ISD # 2859)
Question 1: Operating Levy

Voters in the Glencoe-Silver Lake school district passed their operating levy 1,130-741.

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (ISD # 2687)
Question 1: Operating Levy
Question 2: Bonding Levy

Voters in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district defeated two ballot questions, an operating levy and a bonding levy. Both questions failed with more than 61 percent voting “no.”

Hutchinson (ISD # 423)
Question 1: Bonding Levy

In the Hutchinson school district, voters narrowly approved a bonding levy. The vote was 1,630 “yes” and 1,512 “no” — a margin of just 118 votes.

Jordan (ISD # 717)
Question 1: Operating Levy
Question 2: Bonding Levy
Question 3: Bonding Levy

In the Jordan school district, voters defeated all three ballot questions by wide margins.

Litchfield (ISD #465)
Question 1: Operating Levy
Question 2: Facilities Levy
Question 3: Pool & Fitness Levy

In the Litchfield school district, voters approved two of the three ballot questions. Passed: Question 1 (operating levy) and Question 2 (facilities levy). Failed: Question 3 (pool and fitness levy).

Spring Lake Park (ISD #16)
Question 1: Operating Levy
Question 2: Capital Projects Levy

In the Spring Lake Park school district, voters overwhelmingly passed the two school funding questions on the ballot. The operating levy and capital projects levy both passed with about 80 percent voting “yes.”

Watertown-Mayer (ISD # 111)
Question 1: Operating Levy
Question 2: Bonding Levy

In the Watertown-Mayer school district voters approved both an operating levy and a bonding levy with a solid margin of “yes” votes.

Westonka (ISD #277)
Question 1: Operating Levy

In the Westonka school district, voters approved an operating levy by nearly a two-to-one margin.

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