Update: Schools see mixed results from referendum votiingResults for all four Carlton County school districts that asked voters to approve an operating levy.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
With close to one in three schools around the state asking voters to approve an operating levy, there's no doubt money is tight.
In Carlton County, four school districts -- Barnum, Cloquet, Esko and Moose Lake -- asked for what they termed learning levies, money that doesn't go toward buildings, instead it goes to supplement educational efforts.
Moose Lake, which saw a referendum fail in the last election, appears to have gotten a majority vote in favor of its requested $450 per pupil levy, with a reported 662 voting in favor and 426 against.
Barnum didn't fare so well in its request for a $400 per pupil levy, with the majority voting "no," a reported 603 against the levy and 335 in favor of the increase.
Esko voters also appeared deny the district its levy request, although by a closer margin. A reported 727 voted against the $340 per pupil levy, while 515 voted to approve.
Cloquet reported results just before midnight, after having trouble balancing a small number of votes with receipts, Cloquet Superintendent Ken Scarbrough wrote in an email to the paper shortly after 10 p.m.
Cloquet voters approved one question and denied the second, voting 1,419 to 730 to extend the current operating referendum of $97.61 per student, but narrowly defeating a request to extend that operating referendum by an additional $275 per student. On that second question, 1,120 voted "no" to the $275 request, while 1,034 voted "yes." That question failed by 86 votes.
Voters in the Duluth school district on Tuesday voted down three different options to raise property taxes to increase funding for school operations.
District officials and the School Board asked voters to approve up to $5.6 million for schools each year for five years, all from local property taxes, to help reduce class sizes, buy new textbooks and improve math and science efforts.
But voters resoundingly said no, leaving a $366-per-pupil levy in place into 2012. That’s less than half the statewide average per-pupil levy of $864, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.
The Duluth News Tribune contributed to this story.