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Minnesota school districts seek big money from voters in November

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Voters across Minnesota next month will be asked to renew tax levies or raise new money – hundreds of millions of dollars – for schools over the next decade, the Pioneer Press reports in a new analysis.

In all, 83 Minnesota school districts have ballot measures in front of voters, 57 of which are for operating levies and 26 for building or capital projects.

In the Twin Cities, 25 metro-area districts are asking voters for more than $250 million, the newspaper reports.

The requests include money for a variety of projects: maintaining buildings and facilities, replacing outdated technology and buying up new land for buildings, the newspaper reports.

The number of ballot requests is similar to other recent odd-year elections, an official with the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, told the Pioneer Press.

There is much at stake in the levy votes, school officials say.

By way of example, in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district, officials are asking voters for an additional $10 million per year, which amounts to roughly $15 more per month for the owner of a $225,000 house in the district, Patch reports. Without the money, the district is facing significant staff and program cuts, officials say.

In Mahtomedi, a levy increase would hike property taxes on a median-valued home in the district by $181, White Bear Press reports. The money is needed because state money for the district is not keeping up with actual costs, district officials say. The money would also offer a boost for resources for students who are struggling or excelling academically, as well as for students who need extra emotional support, White Bear Press reports.

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