Minnesota schools asking voters for $1.8 billion

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Christopher Magan
Duluth News Tribune

Minnesota voters will decide more than 100 school levies Tuesday, and nearly all of them will address one of four concerns: school building improvements, security upgrades, classroom technology or operating revenue. . .

Besides the debate over whether state education funding is keeping pace with inflationary costs, it's clear that new educational programs and tools are driving many of the requests for new local taxes. The Legislature's decision to fund all-day kindergarten in 2013 set in motion a classroom space squeeze that many districts are still trying to address. And Gov. Mark Dayton's latest push to provide universal preschool for 4-year-olds has exacerbated space concerns in many communities. "Districts understand the importance of early learning," said Kirk Schneidawind, executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association. But Schneidawind said districts need time and resources to find the space and teachers to accommodate more young learners. "There's nothing worse than an overcrowded classroom or an overcrowded school," he said.