Voting Today Could Impact Schools, Your Taxes

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.

More from Holly Wagner
  • G Dog

    I wonder if, as a “no” voter walks into an elementary school, he/she ever stops and tells a little kid that she’s not worth a few dollars more each month out of the voter’s pocket.

    • waste

      We already paid, it is called property taxes.

      The governor and the legislature cannot balance a budget so they took the money from the schools.

      Now they duped the school boards into taxing us via referenDUMS.


    • MomOfManyKids

      If the money actually went for a better education maybe that “no” voter would have voted yes. It’s a bunch of wasted money, at least it is in the Westonka district.

      • sue j

        well said Westtonka, wastes more money than any other school district and the scores keep coming down

        • Eric

          What are you basing the comments on, did you see the latest MCA 2 and 3 results? Check the latest test results before you make false comments. Anyone curious can check the test results at the Dept of Ed website, don’t believe these lies. Sue J can’t even spell the district name correctly or use proper punctuation and you speak about wasting money. Really good source of information from those two.

    • Callina

      Actually, I’ve walked into a private school and thanked them for doing a better job of educating children with less money per student than the public schools.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean that I will vote no. It just means that I would like to see the additional money actually make a difference in the quality of education. I’m appalled at the lack of basics in many of the high school graduates that I know.

  • Redneck Purist

    What a silly question. As though one could equate quality of education or caring about children with throwing more money down the sucking vortex-sink-hole of public education. Why do private, parochial, and home schools out-perform public schooled kids for a lot less money and know one ever seems to ask the question, “Is it possible that if we spent less we’d have better results?” Actually there’s correlation between spending more and getting poorer results, so isn’t it a fair question that maybe lack of funding isn’t the issue? Throwing money into the maw of public schools doesn’t prove that you care more. Just that you are a slow learner.

    • Susan

      Exactly right.

    • MomOfManyKids


    • I get it as well.

      Boy, did you hit the nail on the head.

    • bbmkm

      There is a distict difference between public and private schools. Public schools are required to educate ALL kids. Private schools can decline student if they choose. I’d love to compare apples to apples on the number of special ed students between public and private.

  • NoMoreMoney

    Let’s permit private charter schools access to taxpayer money and let the parent send their kids to the school of their choice.

    If the public school system cannot produce results with the financial resources that are given to them (and these resources are very significant) then let’s provide another option.

    • bbmkm

      You cannot equally compare public and private schools! Public school are required to educate ALL students. If you really have a problem, take it up with the state legislators. They are the ones causing the problems! How would you like it if you worked you 40 hours during the week, but your employer said “I’m only paying you 60% this week and the other 40% I’ll give you in 6 months”. That is exactly what the state is doing. Unbelievable!

  • Hell no

    Vote no!!!

  • I won't do it

    everybody has had to make more with less, so the schools should too. they don’t need to upgrade to technology every year or two. it seems if they have money they will spend it unwisely.

  • foop

    I’ll vote yes. I can afford it so why not. I would rather support education than a vikings stadium.

    • MomOfManyKids

      If you can afford it make a donation. Don’t make those who are already struggling suffer more.

      • duh...

        If you’re a “MomOfManyKids”…maybe stop having Many Kids….problem solved.

  • Chimps

    Go ahead vote no, it just decreases your property values when your school system ranks at the bottom every year, but I guess low waged people who have over extended themselves financialy wouldn’t understand that.

    • I won't do it

      Or when we support illegal immigrants to go to public schools. Liberals.

      Just because people are low waged does not mean they have over extended themselves, moron.

  • Rural MN Mom

    Ah– just a little side comment on the observation that private schools get better results than public– of course they do. Private schools can pick and choose students, (many such schools have to be applied for)– and their charging tuition ensures private school parents feel they have a stake and are involved. The public system has to take any– and I do mean any!– kid that isn’t so violent they aren’t already in the juvenile justice system. These often neglected, damaged kids are an incredible resource drain… and even when they do make progress, it’s rarely so dramatic that they don’t pull down test scores.
    Sometimes the public school system is the only friendly and supportive environment they encounter growing up. Sad all around, huh? I’ll put my kids in a private school, sure– but I don’t feel right abandoning poor kids.

    • Dbag

      Yes, please send them to private school so I don’t have to pay for them.

  • Guy

    Private schools have less students in the classroom therefore increasing more one on one time with the teacher. That is what the money to the schools is going for. To try and reduce the number of students in the classroom. You ever use a computer that is 5 years old and cannot support basic programs because it does not have enough money? Schools do not upgrade technology every 2 years. What happens is they are given so much money and are told that a percent of it has to go towards technology or other areas but it is never enough to redo all of the computers and having 2 new computers out of 16 is not a good idea.

    • hello

      the school where my kid goes seems to upgrade the technology every couple years. my computer at home is 8 years old and it works fine, even with video rendering which is heavy into memory and CPU instructions. make do with less, just as we have done.

      • Guy

        If we don’t update it then you’ll whine and complain when the students don’t know how to use Microsoft word or other programs that employers are requiring now.

        • hello

          first, school computers should be PC’s, not expensive Apples. Saves a lot of money. If the schools spent more wisely they would not need as much money.

  • G Dog

    Try sending a special needs kid to Breck, Blake, SPA and the rest. Try to make Breck, Blake, SPA and the rest to take a medically fragile kid. Try sending an autistic kid to Breck, Blake, SPA and the rest. Try to get a kid with Down’s Syndrome into Breck, Blake, SPA and the rest.

    Public schools vs. private schools is apples and oranges. If public schools could pick and choose who they educate, don’t you think their results would be similar?

    Stop worrying about your own greed and try to think of someone else for a change. Or as the Bible thumpers say, but often ignore, WWJD?

    • Red


    • Jackie

      Nice comment.

  • More money is not the answer

    Throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve the problem.

    Schools, like families, need to tighten up their belts, increase their efficiency, and make do with what they already have.

    One thing the schools have clearly excelled at is convincing teachers, students, parents, politicians, and much of the general public that “little Johnny” or “little Suzie” will suffer greatly if they don’t get all their referendums passed.

    In most cases that is patently false yet those who preach it (or who merely repeat what they’ve been told) have unmatched passion for believing and defending it.

    There are many ways schools can be more economical. For starters, they don’t need swimming pools and multimillion dollar athletic fields and a parking slot for every student. I know activity fees are detested by many parents but it’s a fair way to distribute some of the costs over the user base rather than have the taxing district absorb all of it.

    We pay for school buses yet they cross town half full because little Johnny and Suzi don’t want to be caught dead riding one. No, they’ll pay high fees for a parking pass and the schools are happy to be forever expanding parking areas to accommodate them.

    Have you ever helped out in the cafeteria? If so you’d be hard pressed not to notice the incredible waste there.

    One other area that would save small fortunes for the schools – curb the vandalism. Maybe if parents made as much as a token effort to teach little Johnny and Suzi to have respect for people and property the schools wouldn’t have to spend so much money merely trying to maintain property at status quo.

    Similarly, if your kid doesn’t play nicely in the sandbox, instead of ragging on the teacher or administrative staff, why don’t you try to support their efforts and incorporate a little discipline at home when it’s needed?

    I’m all for education but I don’t think we achieve it just by increasing how much we spend on it.

    • Hell yes

      Right on!!!

    • What Next?

      Please look at what schools are expected to do because parents can’t/won’t do it. Is it any wonder schools need money? Holy Cow, you can’t pay teachers enough to be parent, counselor, mentor, nose-wiper, to kids. If you think about it, you are getting off pretty cheep to pay teachers to babysit.

  • Jason

    More money does not = smaller class sizes. We have heard this for years. More money does not = better performance. Brooklyn Center is proof. 8/9 failed requests in a row. Aug was the last one , Dec is the next. Property tax is too high mixed with very poor education results. Years of open enrollment has destroyed this district.

  • pat

    More money does not = better grades.

    More money only = more money for the teachers union.

  • What Next?

    As a thirty-year teacher, I would to thank the NO voters for supporting me. I bust my ass and make less money than I did three years ago because of NO voters and budget cuts and having to change jobs. Please keep voting NO and I can live off you by collecting unemployment. Right now, I am supporting 2 girls in college, myself in college (in order to keep teaching and thus be employed), and can makes ends meet if we skimp all we can…P.S. I am so money hungry I make $40k per year with almost 2 master’s degrees. Don’t you dare tell me that I am in it for the money, politics, etc.

    • Flammy

      A voice of reason. NO voters, please read this and really think about what What Next? is saying.

  • lou

    How many teachers and administrators now have iPads? I know two who have received them, and they have the high score on angry birds…

    What a waste of money.

    • G Dog

      Congrats Lou.

      You know two teachers. How much time have you spent in a classroom?

      • What Next?

        Most people have all the answers, but would NEVER step foot in a classroom. If they did, they’d be eaten alive by what they are expected to do!

        • G Dog

          In my 33 years of teaching, I have had dozens and dozens of people in my classroom as guest speakers on a number of topics. Every single one has remarked that they had never had such a emotionally, academically and physically draining day compared to their private sector job.

          It is easy to criticize from afar. Walk a mile in my moccasins before you vote “NO”.

          • Redneck Purist

            Typical self-important liberal teacher. In your first post it was the tired “if you vote no, you don’t care about the poor little kids.” argument. But in the end we see how this is all about you and your over-the-top altruistic contributions that no one else could even understand, let alone match. I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as your moccasins, because they have the stench of your hyper-inflated ego. What a boorish, self-absorbed liberal snob.

    • DTM

      Wow, a whole two? I guess there’s no more discussion needed. lou knows two teachers that have iPads…hey lou, I know two that don’t have iPads. Do my two cancel out the two you know?

      • lou

        Sorry you do not get it. The schools are running out of money, test scores are going down, and someone decided to spend money on toys for teachers instead of on the students.
        It is more than two, and you know it.
        It seams you are more concerned with insulting than students, test scores and the stupifying of the united states.

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