ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Voters overwhelmingly approved property tax levies in Minnesota school districts where they were on the ballots.
The 76 districts that asked voters Tuesday to approve extra funding for school construction, operating costs or both was typical of an off-year election, Minnesota Public Radio News reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/HwVh3w ).
Greg Abbott, a spokesman for the Minnesota School Boards Association, said 50 of 57 requests to raise taxes for operating expenses prevailed. He said the 88 percent success rate was a record. The association reported that 23 of 26 districts with construction levies passed them, although one district had a split decision on its two ballot questions.
The requests for extra money came on top of the $485 million in new education funding lawmakers approved last session for the next two years. Some districts were renewing expiring levies.
Voters in Albert Lea, Duluth, Owatonna, Roseville and Warroad were among those who passed the local operating levies. Requests failed in Eden Prairie, Marshall, Worthington and a few other places.
A set of levies passed in the Eastern Carver County district, where voters endorsed $14 million for classroom technology and school safety and decided to continue an operating levy providing $9 million a year over the next decade.
"It will maintain class sizes," said district spokesman Brett Johnson. "We'll be able to keep 28 courses in both our high schools. We'll be able to keep hand on science in our elementary schools."
Several school districts sought construction dollars to add capacity ahead of next fall, when the state beings to fully support all-day kindergarten.
Inver Grove Heights, Pelican Rapids, St. Louis Park and Osseo were among the districts where voters passed school bonding measures. Worthington voters rejected the proposal before them.
Information from: KNOW-FM, http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/stations/knowksjn/