Breaking Down The Referendum Question On Tuesday's Ballots

By KBJR News 1

October 27, 2010 Updated Oct 27, 2010 at 7:12 PM CDT

When Minnesota voters head to the polls on Tuesday a number of school districts will be asking them to approve a referendum calling for higher property taxes...

Referendums were once designed to fund supplies, programs, and other initiatives above and beyond the district's day–to–day operations...but now some school officials say it's really a matter of survival.

LeAnn Wallace has the details.

Carlton School's Superintendent is being pretty blunt when talking about their financial situation saying if voters don't pass the referendum on November 2nd...the district will have to make some difficult decisions just to survive.

If the referendum passes...property tax would increase an additional $325 per year for a $200,000 home for instance...

District officials say that's a small price to pay for the future of Carlton students.

If it doesn't pass...district officials say some serious cuts will have to be made...and nothing will be left off the table.

"If the referendum doesn't pass, and our enrollment does decrease, we're looking at some pretty serious reductions, removal of extra curricular programming, um even to the point of closing one of our buildings, moving into one building," said Carlton Superintendent Peter Haapala.

The Moose Lake School District, Cook School district and Mountain Iron/Buhl District will also be asking voters in their areas to vote on similar referendums.

The Carlton District is already more than $800,000 dollars in debt...they're in what's called 'statutory operating debt' which means they have to submit reports to the state telling them how they plan to get out of the debt...so cuts will have to be made regardless of whether the referendum is passed.

They hope the referendum is approved in an effort to significantly lighten their financial burden.