Six Minn. school districts have levies, bond questions on Tuesday's ballot

Sample ballot
A sample ballot from Hennepin County, showing the levy for the Brooklyn Center School District that voters will decide Tuesday.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

Tuesday's primary election will be light on school-related votes. Just six districts in Minnesota will have levy questions: Red Wing, Brooklyn Center, Fairmont, St. James, Osakis, and South Koochiching.

Red Wing voters will answer two questions, both of which would raise property taxes. The district has made deep cuts in recent years and says more will be needed if the first question fails. The second levy would help reduce class sizes, but can't pass unless the first one does.

Superintendent Stan Slessor says the school board deliberately separated the two questions.

"The first question being to just maintain what we have, get out of debt, and stop the budget cuts -- the board thought that was a worthy goal," Slessor said. "But all the board members also supported the second, which was to reduce class size."

In Brooklyn Center, the district is asking for a $200-per-student learning levy.

The Fairmont, St. James and Osakis districts want to borrow money for maintenance, building repairs or additions. South Koochiching is presenting a one-day bond.

Fairmont's bond is $8.8 million; St. James' is $6.79 million; Osakis's is $6.7 million; and South Koochiching's one-day bond is for $480,000.

School board races are also on some ballots, but Tuesday's election will only downsize the field.

In Minneapolis, for example, nine candidates will be whittled to six. Those six will then vie for three seats on the board in the November election.

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