After Failed Levies, Minn. School Districts Feel the Pinch

Updated: 11/08/2012 7:53 AM By: Michelle Knoll

Donna Dee has several kids in the Elk River area school district.

Going into Tuesday's elections, Dee and other voters faced two levy questions on education. The first was a renewal of an existing 10-year levy; the second focused on all-day kindergarten, technology, curriculum and retiring debt.

"Signed off on both because education is important," Dee said.

Dr. Mark Bezek is the superintendent of the district. He says the renewal passed. That's almost $6 million, which is 5 percent of their budget. The second failed; it would have generated an additional $6 million.

"The second question, it's simple economics, sign of the times," Bezek said.

Bezek's current reality is, if both questions had passed he still would have had to cut $2 million. With the second question not passing the hole is now $5 million.

"When we cut a million we figure it's going to be 20 people, whether they come out of the classroom, whether they are custodians," Bezek said.

Bezek is not the only superintendent feeling the pinch. There are six districts like Fairbault to Fosston where their operating referendums failed.

And then there's seven districts like Osseo to Deer Rivers where bond and capital project levies failed. Bezek says each and every district will face cuts.

"You can count on maybe 10 percent higher class sizes," Bezek said.

For a list of levy and referenda results from around the state click here.