Officials respond to Floodwood referendum failing

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FLOODWOOD, MN– Voters in Floodwood shot down a $700,000 referendum Tuesday night, and now, the school district is forced to cut teachers.

“Was there something we didn’t answer” asked Superintendent Rae Villebrun.

Tuesday night’s referendum vote in Floodwood is leaving officials with more questions than answers.

“Or, is it solely about the amount their taxes are going up,” said Villebrun.

The $700,000 referendum was narrowly shot down Tuesday night, with 352 people voting no and 337 people voting yes.

“It’s hard to continue doing your very best knowing that, of the voters that came out that, over half of them either don’t believe in what you’re doing or don’t support what you’re doing,” said Villebrun.

This isn’t the first time community members could’ve voted to try to keep the K -12 building fully operational.

“The voters got the question for the first time in November. That one did not pass,” said Villebrun.

So officials went to work by putting up informational flyers, spreading the word on Facebook, and holding a meeting in March to stress why this referendum was so important.

“It felt like we were giving them the answers they needed to make a decision,” said Villebrun.

But with Tuesday’s referendum failing, it’s left many teachers unsure of the future.

“We’ve talked about if it doesn’t pass, that there’s gonna be cuts, but what is that exactly gonna look like? And a lot of people are just wondering and nervous about what’s gonna happen next,” said math teacher, Amanda Fjeld.

Officials said they’re already discussing what moving forward looks like.

And while cuts may not happen immediately, they’re not far away.

“Overall, it will be eight teachers. It could be seven teachers, but two people could be part-time–like, it’s hard to put a number until we have the figures from the state what our budget looks like,” said Villebrun.

Even though teachers are concerned about what the future holds,

“It’s gonna be hard to say goodbye to the staff that we have to cut,” said Fjeld.

Officials know their excitement for teaching won’t change.

“It’s hard to maintain the same level of professionalism and excitement, but that’s the great thing about the staff at Floodwood, they will,” said Villebrun.

Officials said the elementary school will be impacted the most because it’s difficult to combine high school classes.

CeCe Gaines

CeCe Gaines

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