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ELECTION: VOTERS APPROVE NEW 10-YEAR LEVY

With a record turnout for a single-question, school district-only ballot, voters approved an increase in the district's so-called operations levy by $195 per pupil, or about $1.2 million per year. With a record turnout for a single question ballot, scho

St. Michael-Albertville School District residents have approved an increase school funding, but it wasn't easy. 

With a record turnout for a single question ballot, school district-only vote, voters approved an increase in the district's so-called operations levy by $195 per pupil, or about $1.2 million per year. 

The new levy, or "yes" vote, received 53 percent of the ballot, or 2,099 votes. The "no" vote received 47 percent, or 1,828 votes. There were 3,927 ballots cast in the election.

The results, released by the school district Tuesday night are considered unofficial until the St. Michael-Albertville School Board meets Monday evening to canvass the election. That meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. in the board room. 

"We're very excited," said Superintendent Dr. Jim Behle Tuesday night. "Just very pleased to get the support." 

Lines at both St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West and Middle School East were very steady the entire day. The line at East exploded as people arrived home from work, with a line out of the gymnasium door for a short time after 5 p.m.

But by 7:30 p.m., Middle School West was mostly cleared. 

Workers spent the last two hours reconciling the tapes from ballot machines and counting the absentee ballots. Suzanne Gallagher, an administrative assistant with the district, estimated about 100 absentee ballots were cast. 

The breakdown for how these new funds would be used, according to the district: 

• $500,000 per year to make up for lost federal funding, which will take effect next year

• $300,000 to maintain current technology offerings and keep it up to date

• $300,000 to $400,000 to cover inflationary costs like utility and transportation costs as well as to perform maintenance and repairs on school buildings.

The guidelines were determined by a levy committee made up of board members, staff, teachers, parents and general community members. The committee suggested this levy amount because of its prudency, sticking to the bare bones needed to keep the district functioning as-is.

christy November 09, 2011 at 11:39 PM
I wonder if you would feel this same way when OUR children are the ones who will be taking care of you or a loved one when you may be fighting for your life in the hospital. These children are OUR future and deserve a proper education !!!
Al Anderson November 10, 2011 at 12:19 AM
The Invest in Excellence Comittee may have indeed received donations for the signs that were done. But that committee was hand-picked (IE people were chosen who would aggressively advocate for levy increases) by a select group (Ziegler, Behle and maybe a couple of board members). This was no independent group doing objective work. The School District did use extensive resources to create their one-sided Knight VIew mailing, inaccurate chart information, video, etc that was ultimately paid for by the taxpayer to lobby for more tax $. That has got to stop unless a counter balance to the one-sided informational flow is also provided. Educational reform needs to happen in the biggest of ways. Regardless - I challenge like minded people to get organized regarding how your tax $ are spent - feel free to "click" on my name above and use the "Post Board" to let me know how to reach you. Let's organize.
Al Anderson November 10, 2011 at 12:29 AM
Aimee I'm all for passionate people doing what they believe in. Good for you. I do believe in a tremendous education for children at a reasonable price. That committee wasn't open for the community to participate in - so the effort put forth wasn't an objective one. When you get only a monolithic perspective - you're only going to put out one conclusion. And as a matter of fact - I did spend extensive time laying out the FACTS about the districts' informational inaccuracies as well as the current cost side of the referendum equation. The information received from the IiE committee and the school district was about the need for more taxes to support certain initiatives. That is the Kool-Aid that was dispensed.
William November 10, 2011 at 02:40 AM
As a parent with a couple of daughters I'm glad it passed. The education they are getting at STMA is a quality education. They feel like they have a future. One of them would like to be physical therapist and the other one wants to be a dentist. They wil be taking care of future generations. Do children of other communities have the same dreams? I think the quality of their education and their high school experience has given them hope.
Aimee Libby November 10, 2011 at 05:49 AM
Actually, Al - the Invest In Excellence committee was NOT hand-picked by any school administration. And believe it or not, it WAS open to the community...and there were MANY community members who were behind this effort. The Patch even did an article where a link to our website was listed, as well as our Facebook page that was used to inform the community where each meeting was held so that anyone could attend. Here's the article: http://stmichael.patch.com/articles/community-organization-forms-to-support-st-michael-albertville-school-referendum There are continuous calls for volunteers to serve on a wide variety of school committees, so I think it's ridiculously unfair to act like the district is conniving to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. I'm off to drink my kool-aid now...

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