DULUTH, MN –The Duluth School District is weighing options after a portion of its levy increase failed to gain community support on election ballots Tuesday.
Voters have approved part of a referendum to increase the district’s levy.
The referendum was made up of three questions, one of which asked for a renewal of an operating levy.
The other two questions would raise taxes in the name of smaller class sizes.
The first question, which passed with 72% of the vote, asked for a 10-year renewal of its current operating levy, which is about $371 per student.
Question two asked voters for an additional $8.64 per month for 10 years, which would allow the district to add about 25 teachers across the district to help manage class sizes. That question passed by 53% of the vote.
Meanwhile, The third question failed, getting 51% of the vote. It asked voters for an additional $5.03 per month over the next 10 years, which would hopefully cover the cost of upgraded curriculum, devices, and infrastructure. Mostly classroom technology that hasn’t been upgraded in 10 years including smartboards and computers.
Superintendent of Duluth Public Schools, Bill Gronseth says these referendums are a real vote of confidence for the district despite one failing to gain community support.
Gronseth says, “we will be adding to our budget for next year. So in the coming months, we will be planning out exactly how that works out. It means an additional $5 million for the school district. We’re going to be adding more teachers next year, and so we will be entering into the budgeting and hiring process in the coming months to prepare for next year.”
On Monday, parents and students at Lester Park and Congdon Park Elementary Schools rallied in favor of the increase, saying the local education levy will improve their schools.
Gronseth says they will continue to weigh their options when it comes to plans to upgrade the district’s technology.
He says the district will be working on budgeting in the coming months and hiring new teachers before the next school year.