More districts seek levies

As many as one in three Minnesota school districts may be looking for extra money from local citizens this fall.

According to the Minnesota School Boards Association, which surveys its members every summer, 91 school districts have announced plans to seek levies this fall and 26 have plans for  bonding referendums. That number may change after the mid-September deadline for finalizing referendum plans. The Association says 295 of Minnesota’s 341 school districts responded to the survey. This would be the second-highest number of levy referendums statewide since 1980, when the survey began. In 2001, 188 districts sought levies.

MSBA spokesman Greg Abbott notes that, while about a quarter of the districts are renewing existing levies, others are planning ahead for fiscal year 2008, when their state funding will increase just 1 percent. “There are a lot of districts that know they’re not going to survive on 1 percent,” he said. “The cost of gas alone will eat that up.”

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