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Z-M, K-W funds OK'd

Area school district leaders said they are thankful voters supported funding requests at the ballot box this week.

“I think it really says a ton about our community,” Zumbrota-Mazeppa Supt. Tony Simons said.

There, voters approved what Simons called a “maintenance referendum” of $350 per pupil that will keep the district from having to make cuts.

“This is not a huge windfall for us,” he said, but “it means that we won’t be cutting teachers and programs that we would have definitely had to cut had it not passed. We were kind of right down to the bare-bones.”

The district tried to pass a referendum in 2012, but it failed by about 4 percent, Simons said.

He said this year there was an active committee promoting the referendum and the district was “cautiously optimistic” it would pass.

Voters approved Z-M’s referendum 1,069-522, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State Office.

The Kenyon-Wanamingo School District voters also turned out to vote and supported a referendum 3 to 1. The unofficial results showed the measure to renew an expiring referendum passed 633-205. The official vote canvassing will be Nov. 14.

“It was a very good turnout and a very good result for us,” Kenyon-Wanamingo Supt. Jeff Evert said.

He said the district will take in about $700,000 from that. “It’s a lot of money for a small district.”

The referendum likely was less controversial than others because it was a renewal, Evert said.

“I think that made it a little simpler to understand,” he said.

Evert said the district saw cuts of about $400,000 in 2004 after a referendum failed, and he is happy to avoid another round of cuts and maintain programming and initiatives in the district.

He said the Kenyon-Wanamingo voters have been supportive of the schools’ work.

“I’m very appreciative of our public,” he said. “They support education in Kenyon-Wanamingo.”

That appeared to be true across the state. Minnesota voters passed a record 88 percent of school operating levies in Tuesday’s election, the Minnesota School Boards Association reported.

Unofficial results show 50 of 57 levy requests passed, the best percentage since the association began tracking the rate in 1980.

Voters also approved at least one question requesting construction or capital lease projects in 23 of 26 districts statewide, according to the association.

Also on Tuesday, Goodhue’s school district voters re-elected incumbents Michelle Goodman, Mike Kehren and Brian Schafer to the School Board, the only candidates for the three open positions. They received 65, 69 and 74 votes respectively, with 17 write-ins.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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