School levy increase approved in St. Paul

A $39 million levy proposal was approved for schools in St. Paul over the next eight years with more than 60 percent of the vote. The measure includes the renewal of a previous $30 million levy and and additional $9 million for technology upgrades.
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A $39 million levy proposal was approved for schools in St. Paul with more than 60 percent of the vote, the Star Tribune reports.

The measure includes the renewal of a previous $30 million levy and an additional $9 million for technology upgrades.

The Pioneer Press says the referendum would trigger a $63 a year tax increase for the owner of a $149,000 home, the median value in the district.

Superintendent Valeria Silva says a steering committee will develop a framework for how the money will be spent over the next eight years.

Only 40 school districts had levy referendums on the ballot this election year compared to 130 districts last year, MPR reports. Half of the districts asked to renew old levies while the other half asked voters for an increase.

Twenty-nine of 40 levies passed around the state, MPR reports.

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St. Paul schools chief seeks levy increase

St. Paul schools Superintendent Valeria Silva wants to ask voters for extra money in November. She proposes renewing an existing schools levy -- and raising it. A current levy has brought in about $30 million a year since 2006. The proposed raise would amount to an extra $65 a year on a $149,000 home, the median value in the district this year.

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MPR reports voters across Minnesota approved about 7 out of 10 school referenda. Voters approved renewals almost unanimously, but districts didn't fare quite as well with requests for new money.

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Eight times in six years Brooklyn Center voters have rejected additional tax levies for schools. District officials hope the ninth vote will have a different outcome. If not, they face $600,000 in cuts.

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House Education Finance Committee chair Pat Garofalo says he will push a bill next session to require levy referendums to come only in general elections when more voters go to the polls. Garofalo says during off-year elections, more than 70 percent of referendums pass. That rate falls to 52 percent in election years.

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St. Paul Public Schools officially kicked off its campaign for a renewal and extension of a property tax levy Saturday, KARE 11 reports. There are 40 districts across the state that have an operating levy question on the November ballot.

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Stillwater is one of dozens of districts in limbo after voters turned down tax increases Tuesday. The district faces a $10 million dollar budget deficit.

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