COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — This fall voters in 130 communities statewide will be asked to go to the polls to vote on more money for schools.

School districts are warning that there could be hundreds of teacher layoffs and class sizes would increase dramatically if voters don’t approve the increase in funding.

On Monday night, the Anoka-Hennepin School District, which is the largest in the state, will hold a public meeting on their referendum.

According to the school district, if these referendums fail, there will be 50-plus kids in classrooms, 500 teachers will be laid off and five schools will close.

Right now, there are 35 kids in Mrs. Witucki’s fifth grade classroom. If referendums for the Anoka-Hennepin District fail on Nov. 8, the district said every classroom will get 10 more kids.

“I’m very worried. Looking at even having one less class and having your class sizes go even two more students where the numbers are now would have an impact on my class,” Witucki said.

Anoka-Hennepin high schools already have 40-plus kids in the class. The district produced a video and put it on YouTube to show what a chemistry class would look like with 53 kids.

The district is asking voters to pass three different referendums. One is a renewal of an existing $48 million referendum that would not increase property taxes. The second a $3 million technology referendum that would increase taxes an average of $36 a year. The third would be an increase of $12 million in anticipation of lower funding levels from the legislature. That would increase taxes an average of $120 a year.

The district’s superintendent knows in a tough economy there are no guarantees of passage.

“It is not an ideal time to be going to our public. Our public is weary of requests to raise taxes,” said Superintendent Dennis Carlson.

These referendums have their critics. Notably Rep. Pat Garofalo, the Republican Chair of the House Education Finance committee, is critical of a lot of these school referendums saying the Republican legislature did increase funding for schools last year. Critics, including legislators, say that increase was nowhere near what schools needed.

Comments (10)
  1. rpl says:

    how about we lay off administators

  2. Guy says:

    Maybe they should look at where they are wasting money. Fire a could dozen ADMINISTRATORS instead of teachers. They get paid more & WON’T increase class sizes.

  3. Todd says:

    Hennepin county property taxes just got slammed with an increase because of a police/fire pension fund gap due to the stalled economy, now they was to tag on even more to bail out the schools? Maybe it is time to privatize the Minneapolis school system and gut the waste that is the admin top-heavy environment.

  4. Jake says:

    Just say NO to passing referendums. Enough is ENOUGH. Gloom and Doom is all that they talk about, as if they have NO other options.

  5. Waste says:

    SAY NO!

    The money is there, but the teachers union won’t budge to negotiate a more inline contract. Enough is enough. We already pay too much in taxes.

    Get rid of the administrators, the illegals, and reduce the outrageous benefits.

  6. Pat says:

    If the state wouldn’t keep the money that is suppose to go to the schools, the schools wouldn’t have a problem.

    How about it Dayton? Give the schools their money.

    Instead, the school unions want the residents to pay twice, once in property taxes, and agin in a referendum.

  7. tom says:

    Maybe it’s time to break up the State‚Äôs Largest District into some smaller districts.

  8. read my lips says:

    NO, Hennepin County has raised my taxes with double digit percentages for the last 5 years, so no. Try getting rid of the highly paid inefficient Admins.

  9. Loves to teach says:

    Can you read this? Thank a teacher.

    I teach a class of 40 students and each day kids are complaining they can’t see enough, can’t hear, problems arise, you name it. As a teacher I do the best I can with the situation with the hope that all students leave my class understanding what they learned. I cannot fathom the issues that would arise with 50 students in a class.

    For those who complain about your tax dollars being put to good use, stop in one day. Stop in and ask for a tour of the school, SEE how your money is being put to use. If your kid is coming home understanding how to apply algorithms, a second language and mitosis, I’d say my tax dollars are being put to good use.

    Again, if you can read this… thank a teacher! Think twice before criticizing others unless you walk a thousand miles in their shoes.

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