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Yes-Yes vote passes for RW referendum

With the levy set to expire, Red Wing School District needed to pass a new referendum to secure funding for the years to come and avoid massive cuts.

The voters responded Nov. 6, passing both ballot questions, 5,478 votes to 3,601 and 5,134 votes to 3,944.

Question one will increase the current operating levy of $811.64 per student to $1,200 per pupil over the next five years. Question two will add an additional $450 per student.

Just a day short of a year, the district failed to pass a referendum that would increase the levy to $1,235.64 per student for question one and an additional $500 per student for question two. Question one failed with 53 percent to 47 percent of the vote, and 58 percent of voters rejected the second question.

Superintendent Karsten Anderson and Red Wing School Board had to go back and figure out why it had failed, and what they could do better with another chance.

Anderson said the previous referendum wasn't directly tied to the education plan; this time was different, with the referendum and plan together.

The district also didn't have the plans on reductions before. If the first question didn't pass after this election, the district would had to have cut $3.2 million.

Now the district can avoid that, but Anderson said he was doing his best to stay positive and optimistic throughout the night.

"You just never really know what's going to happen until it happens," Anderson said. "We knew we had the right plan at the right time ... but you never know until the day of the vote."

Question one will continue the current level of educational and extracurricular programming in the district; but, with question two passing, the district can adopt more STEAM curriculum, expand mental health and behavioral services, and develop more career and college readiness opportunities.

Anderson said he wanted to thank Red Wing residents for their support and encouragement, saying the engagement from the parents, students and community members was outstanding.

"Truly, we believe that our plan reflects and supports our community and the referendum is tied to that," Anderson said. "We're thrilled to be able to implement it over the next few years."

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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