On Tuesday, November 5th, administrators of many school districts across Minnesota will hope that voters approve property tax increases to bring more revenue to the school districts. Minnesota voters, however, are beginning to push back by demanding fiscal responsibility and more community input before any more property tax hikes.
In Orono, voters began receiving letters from a concerned citizen that the new technology levy of $2,100,000/year levy for the next 10 years is excessive on top of the current taxes.
In Mounds View school district activists began to distribute literature criticizing the proposed levy. Their levy request adds $900 to the 2 current levies doubling the total to $1,735 per pupil for an increase of $12 million each year for 10 years. Their levy request also includes an automatic inflator which will increase the tax by another $7 million every year until at least 2029.
ISD728 which includes the cities of Rogers, Otsego, Elk River, and Zimmerman is asking a two-part referendum, the second since 2014. With the first question, the district seeks to correct what it has called an inflation-adjusted state funding gap of $661 per student per year. The district has advertised for the referendum by claiming this to be a $10.2million dollar budget shortfall. Question one seeks to increase the operating levy by $11 million per year. This equates to a per-student increase of $750/year, or a 62.9% increase to the per-student levy amount.
Some of the proposed school levy referendums have grown contentious. After Alpha News released a mini-documentary exposing the district spending money on the controversial equity program, citizens have begun to speak out against what they see as frivolous spending.
Minnpost and Star Tribune have alleged that some of the opposition in Eastern Carver County is racial. Star Tribune also reported similar allegations in Worthington but citizens have denied that allegation.