The Push For School Funding Ahead Of Election Day

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (WCCO) – Election day is Tuesday, and school referendums are important issues on many ballots.

Chances are, if you vote in Minnesota, you’ll have to decide if you are willing to pay more taxes so your school district can get more funding.

The Anoka-Hennepin district – the state’s largest — is asking for $249 million. Districts from Richfield to Forest Lake are also asking for money.

Brooklyn Center is known for not passing these referendums.

Voters there haven’t voted for an increase in 15 years. Leading into Tuesday, however, school officials are giving it a full court press.

Dr. Carly Jarva, the principal of Brooklyn Center High School, says school administrators are not making frivolous requests.

“We’ve spent a significant amount of time making sure we are asking for only what we need,” she said.

Some of those requests include: funding for more teacher training, new school buses and improvements to nearly 60-year-old buildings.

School officials say the cost to the average household would be about $7 a month in property tax.

But to some residents, that’s too much.

“There’s so many senior citizens in this area right now that people can’t afford to keep having a raise even if it only $7 a month, they just can’t afford it,” said resident Kim Felten.

Felten says he’ll vote no on the referendum.

“It’s all going to administrative type stuff,” he said. “I don’t really see it going to the kids.”

School leaders see the need differently.

“The students who are in our schools today are the ones that are going to take care of us as we continue through our life cycle, so I would like to ask for people’s support in investing in our children,” Jarva said.

Meanwhile, many other districts are considering similar votes Tuesday. (Here’s a list of districts with votes on Nov. 7.)

More from Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
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