BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — Voters heading to the polls Tuesday will be making decisions about their local schools and their own taxes. On this year’s Election Day, there are many school districts around the state asking voters for money.
In Minnesota, 113 districts have issues on today’s ballot. About half of them are seeking renewals to continue their normal operating costs. The other half is seeking additional money.
The Anoka-Hennepin School District has three levies on the ballot. One levy is asking for $48 million that would not come with a tax increase. The second is a technology upgrade and the third is asking for money for cushioning, in case there are future budget shortfalls.
What that means for taxpayers is $150 per year added on to property taxes.
“I see my property taxes are not going down with the value of my home, which is a little disappointing. I just need to do what I can to make sure my property taxes don’t go up,” said voter Marybeth Hamilton, who is against a levy.
“When my kids were young, somebody had to have a little higher taxes to pay for their education. And now I feel like it’s our turn to do that for the next generation,” said voter Barb Fread, who supports a levy.
Educators say that if voters decide not to pass the levies, students in the Anoka-Hennepin District could see a drastic increase in class sizes and hundreds of teachers would be laid off. They also point to continued budget cuts over the years and say that not keeping pace with inflation has been part of the problem.
“I think it’s so easy to raise taxes to pay for things. The tough decisions are going to have to be made by the school district. There are tough cuts that are going to have to be made,” said voter Bob Degatano, who is against the levy.
Some lawmakers have pointed out that this year the state did increase money going to schools by $50 per student. Those lawmakers are urging people to speak with the school district to find out where that money is being spent.
“I think education is the most important thing for our children,” said voter Karina Sartorio, who supports a levy.