By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The big winner in Minnesota’s election day were local school districts. There were more than 70 school-related spending measures on local ballots, and most of them passed.

From Worthington to White Bear Lake, voters said “yes” to hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending for schools.

In Worthington, a community where enrollment has swelled because of immigration, voters had said “no” to five consecutive referendums — but not this time. This time Worthington passed three separate referendums, providing $34 million for a new middle school and $14 million for an addition to the high school.

Across the southern Twin Cities metro area, three school districts — District 191, which is Burnsville-Eagan-Savage, District 194, which is Lakeville, and District 196, which is Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan — all passed referendums

The White Bear Lake school district passed the largest school referendum in Minnesota history, at $326 million, to handle an expected surge in enrollment.

One school district that did not pass its school referendum was Eastern Carver County. Voters there said “no” to a $121.7 million referendum that would have funded a new school and bus garage.

The most publicized single vote may have been the St. Paul decision on garbage pickup. Voters overwhelmingly said “yes” to stay with the new citywide system, a huge victory for Mayor Melvin Carter.

The Mayor campaigned vigorously for the “yes” vote, and many saw this as a referendum on his performance thus far.

“It’s an important question and it’s an important conversation, I am hoping we can move forward,” Carter said on Tuesday.

Esme Murphy