Minnesota school districts prepare for election day

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 9:43 PM CDT
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ST. CLAIR, Minn. (KEYC) — Election day is fast approaching across the country.

While it may be an off-year nationally, it’s a crucial period for local elections, where referendum voting will define the futures of individual school districts.

From budget referendums to building expansions, for superintendents and district representatives, 2021 is not what one would call an “off-year.”

St. Clair is one school district with its future in the air on Tuesday, and a look at all the signs on display around the community proves that.

The district has proposed two referendums, a bond and a levy, that aim to increase the school’s operating budget and construct building additions, along with an increase to taxpayers.

For example, a $225,000 property would incur an additional $106 for the bond, and $361 for the operating referendum, for a total increase of $467 annually in property taxes, if both items pass.

The total cost of the bond will cost $15 million, with $5 million being covered by the state. Items include additions to classroom space, updated roofing and parking lots, fixes to heating and cooling systems, and renovations to make their playground ADA compliant.

The combined proposal passed through the school board by a unanimous vote.

“Myself, along with the school board, wouldn’t be bringing these forward to the taxpayers and saying ‘hey, we want to increase your taxes’ if we didn’t feel that they were both needed,” Superintendent Tim Collins said. “I just hope that everybody feels that they’ve been informed and that they’re able to make a decision, and that they exercise their right to vote and that they do get out and vote.”

While St. Clair’s referendum is one of the more complex, school districts across the state are attempting to renew their financial future through bonds and levies, including New Ulm, Windom, Truman, Nicollet, Le Sueur-Henderson, and Redwood Valley.

Other school districts, such as Springfield, are asking voters Tuesday to fill a vacant school board seat.

Visit your school district’s website for more information and to find polling locations.

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