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.