Richfield School Board Considers Referendum Renewal

The board is trying to decide how and if to ask voters to renew the expiring levy or approve an increase.

After the Richfield Public Schools District's latest in November 2011, the Richfield School Board is looking toward the November 2012 election.

The current referendum, or levy, is set to expire at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Had the 2011 proposed referendum passed, it would've revoked and replaced the current one, with .

Unfortunately, many board members believe many voters were scared off by the language on the ballot, which read:

"The Board of Independent School District No. 280 (Richfield) has proposed to revoke $301.40 per pupil of the school's existing referendum revenue authorization and to replace that authorization with a new authorization of $717.40 per pupil. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would be applicable for ten years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law. ... BY VOTING 'YES' ON THIS BALLOT QUESTION, YOU ARE VOTING FOR A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE."

Minnesota requires that any tax levy ballot question state voters are "voting for a property tax increase," which combined with the per pupil spending numbers being seen as the actual property tax increase, likely contributed to the measure's failure.

Now, with another election fast approaching, the school board is trying to decide if it should ask voters to simply renew the current levy or to approve a new one with an increase. If the board moves to just renew, the property tax increase language would not be on the ballot.

According to , if the current levy was renewed the school would still have to make budget cuts. The 2011 proposal would've , not adding other programs. Most likely, if the board decided to ask for an increased levy, it would also aim to maintain.

During a joint school board and Richfield City Council meeting April 24, Board Member said a community committee in support of the referendum is currently being formed. This group of volunteers will be a grassroots effort to see the passage of a levy this fall. School officials are not allowed to lobby for the issue one way or the other, but simply provide information.

Are you inclined to vote for an increased levy?

Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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