Tax referendum to determine school district funding

Ballot includes referendum and two school board positions

As a citizen of Minneapolis, as a student, and as a taxpayer, you have the right to choose where your tax dollars are being spent. While all eyes are set on the Clinton/Trump race, Minneapolis voters at the polls today will have to make other decisions on the ballot, including whether or not to approve more money going to Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS).

The public school district won a tax referendum in 2008 that allowed them to allocate more money for each student… $1,604.31 to be exact. That referendum expired, and this year, the district is asking voters to renew it, along with an increase each year by the annual rate of inflation.

A referendum is the amount approved by voters to fund school district operations through property taxes. The school board said that renewing the level will not cause property taxes to be raised. This money is used to pay teachers, social workers, and other student support staff members. It also provides the opportunities created for students in their academics, extra-curricular activities and available class technology. Without the renewed referendum, officials say the school district budget will decline 13 percent, directly affecting the schools.

Some people argue that this decline in the MPS revenue would be the first step in eliciting change within the school system. They have argued that voting “No” on this referendum would force the decision makers of MPS reevaluate what must be changed in order to make schools once again successful and thriving.

The two school board elections are also on the ballot. Two members are running once again for seats on the Minneapolis Board of Education. This board is made of district representatives, a chair, a vice-chair, a treasurer, a clerk, directors, and a student representative. As stated on the Minneapolis Public School website, these elected members make encompassing decisions on the district school budgets, facilities, faculty, as well as school curriculum.

Currently, Kim Ellison fills the vice chair position and also holds office over the District 2 school system in Minneapolis but will be running against Doug Mann for the “at large” position, a broader responsibility when addressing district affairs.

For the election concerning the District 4 role, the two candidates are Bob Walser and Josh Reimnitz. Reimnitz is looking to be nominated once again and has a term of experience. His main focus is academic achievement through culture and progress as well as preparing students for a future college education and career.

About the author: Northerner Staff

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