District passes operating levyRed Wing School District voters approved only the district’s operating levy, voting down two facilities bonds that would have addressed maintenance and space issues in the district.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing School District voters approved only the district’s operating levy, voting down two facilities bonds that would have addressed maintenance and space issues in the district.
Yes votes on Question 1 surpassed no votes all evening long, while no votes led on Questions 2 and 3.
The first question garnered 5,759 yes votes and 4,503 no votes. Question 2 had 4,452 yes votes and 5,747 no votes; Question 3 had 3,699 yes votes and 6,422 no votes.
“Obviously, we are very pleased that voters extended the school district’s operating levy for an additional five years,” Supt. Karsten Anderson said.
Question 1 asked voters to renew the current $1,111.41 per pupil levy for five years, beginning once the current levy ends in 2014. The levy will now run until 2019 and will bring in $4 million each year.
“Question 1 was our top priority, and its passage will provide important funding for educational programs without raising taxes,” Anderson said.
“It’s great to know that on Question 1 that we have public support,” Board Chairman Mitch Boldt said.
Question 2 asked voters to approve a $33 million bond to address deferred maintenance throughout the district. It would have also funded renovations to Burnside Elementary School to accommodate all kindergarten through fourth-grade classes and address space issues.
Question 3 asked for approval of a $4.6 million bond to improve and update the district’s athletic facilities.
With both Questions 2 and 3 failing, school officials said they’ll need to re-evaluate the district’s needs before posing the question to voters again.
“We respect the vote of our residents on Question 2 and 3. We will review our facility needs and consider options during the next several months,” Anderson said, adding that the district still has significant space and maintenance issues that need to be addressed.
Boldt added that district officials will break down votes by precinct to determine their strategy going forward. Before the election, Boldt said the only way to really gauge public feelings toward the bonds was to put it to popular vote.
“(Vote totals) should give us a better idea whether it was the right solution,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll get a more in-depth comment from the voters.”
Both Anderson and Boldt said they now have more time to communicate the district’s needs and find solutions before the next vote.
“Engaging staff members, parents, and community members earlier in the decision-making process will help us develop a plan of action to address our needs while garnering public support,” Anderson said.
“We’ll be able to retrench and come out with a solution,” Boldt added.