113 School Districts Asking for Operating Levies in MN, Many in Northland

By KBJR News 1

October 19, 2011 Updated Oct 19, 2011 at 9:30 PM CDT

ESKO, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - More than 130 school districts across Minnesota are asking voters for financial support, mostly in the form of operating levies.

School leaders are hoping voters can support a levy in these tight times.

In the halls of Rebel country, the Moose Lake superintendent said they've tried.

"We've been good stewards of the taxpayer's monies and it's just now with the shift in payments and delays, our cash flow is really hurting," said Tim Caroline, Superintendent of Moose Lake Schools.

He says inadequate state funding, and too many "I owe yous" from the state balancing its budget on the backs of schools, are largely to blame.

"They didn't solve how education is funded and they just kind of kicked the can down the road," said Caroline.

Wednesday night, the Rebels played the Eskimos, a big rival and a school district that is also looking for a levy this Fall.

"Even though we're rivals on the football field, we really do work together to find options and to work for the best interest of our students in this whole area," said Aaron Fischer, Superintendent for Esko Public Schools.

That includes joint meetings with legislators to discuss school funding.

This November, the Esko School District is hoping to raise its levy by $50 per year for a home worth $100,000.
Moose Lake is asking voters for another $40 for the same valued home.

Both leaders believe the amounts are modest.

"This is an extremely tough year to ask for anyone to go and increase their taxes right now," said Fischer.

"This isn't an excess levy, this isn't for extra things. This is to provide a basic core education," said Caroline.

It's an education, now in the hands of voters.

Both leaders believe the state education funding system needs to be reformed, adding that rural school often get less money per student.

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