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Richfield Votes Against Referendum

Richfield voters also elect three school board members—two new and one incumbent.

Richfield voters have spoken and the Richfield Public Schools District won't receive . There were 2,419 votes cast against the referendum and 2,167 in favor, according to unofficial results.

Without the additional funding, schools will likely be forced to cut more staff, thereby raising class sizes throughout the district. that high school classes will likely be in the 40s and elementary classes in the 30s without the additional funding.

In addition to declining to pass the levy, voters elected (1,671),  (1,340 votes) and incumbent (1,238) to the Richfield School Board.

More election results can be found on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website. The office has yet to rule the results official.

Stay tuned as Richfield Patch works to gather the newly electeds' reactions, voter turnout details and more.

Elaine Swanson November 09, 2011 at 12:24 PM
i before e, except after c...
Robert November 09, 2011 at 01:40 PM
7 out of 10 school referendum's passes yesterday. Those 7 communites have just became much more desirable than Richfield. I hope those that voted it down enjoy their $300. I guess that's the price of taking pride in schools, helping kids to read, and just doing the right thing by your community.
Kevin Maleck November 09, 2011 at 07:11 PM
It's actually about $120 per year on the average Richfield home.
Kathy November 09, 2011 at 08:59 PM
Have to disagree Robert, I feel Richfield remains just as desirable if not more...schools & gov't have to learn to live within the financial restraints we're all under, we didn't take away money we just said no to more and because this is America gosh darn if we don't have the right to agree to disagree.
Robert November 09, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Class sizes will rise(they're all ready too high). Programs will be cut. Property values will sink even lower. Our kids test scores will drop. Sure, sounds more desirable to me...
j bender November 09, 2011 at 10:48 PM
I know the schools have a lot to do with property values, but our property taxes are already higher than most. We're higher than Bloomington,Edina, Eden Prairie, Mtka, Brooklyn Park, New Hope and Maple Grove...I don't have anything against the kids and certainly want to help them to read, but as a citizen I'm not convinced we're spending the ever increasing school revenues as cautiously as a homeowner has to manage their budget. I'm also dissappointed in Superintendent Bob Slotterback's prediction high school class sizes will be in the 40's without the levy. So that means by not increasing our average property taxes by a mere $120/year high school class sizes will go from under 30 to over 40. There may be a worst case scenario where this might happen, but it sounds more like scare tactics to me than reality.
Kevin Maleck November 09, 2011 at 11:35 PM
I get that taxes are a bummer. Heck, I'm a Republican - I'm supposed to hate taxes, and I DO. You are also right that too often, our tax money is spent poorly. It can be infuriating. That is particularly the case when it's fed or state money. There is less accountability. If Richfield citizens are giving the schools money, we are more likely to ensure it is being spent wisely. I prefer to pay my hard earned money locally where I can see it in action. I see first (and second) hand many of the gory details of school finance. My wife Christine has been on the district's Fiscal Planning Advisory Committee (FPAC) for four years. We discuss school finances and how they spend money regularly. I see the budgets in all their glorious detail. I am on the Technology Advisory Committee and that is a completely separate and separately funded (and miniscule, I might add) budget. We get down to details as small as individual software licensing and computer programs. It is an exercise in wishing you had more money, I assure you. The Superintendant's Parent Advisory Committee is another great source of information. The district is running a very tight ship. Most board meetings are open and I bet you can get a seat at the FPAC meetings if you call the district office. They would be very informative. I haven't checked the full calculations for taxes in those cities but it would be nice to have a higher proportion of high dollar homes to help stufff the coffers like they do.
Steven Townsend November 09, 2011 at 11:38 PM
I wish were given the chance to vote on the new City Hall. I would have liked to see how the people would have had their say.
Zack Olson November 10, 2011 at 03:59 AM
This is one of the main reasons I decided to run for the School Board. I am tired of the can-kicking techniques for education in this country. We are this supposed super-power and yet our education is so dull and lacking in forward thought but we spend the most money....I'm proud of this community and I think this could be the start of something different.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) November 10, 2011 at 04:32 AM
Someone else just brought this up to me this week. The building was already underway when Richfield Patch started so I'm not up on the process it went through to get approved. Were there a lot of people who were miffed?
Brie Shultz November 10, 2011 at 04:49 AM
If our state legislator had not borrowed money from education funding to balance the budget last summer, would we had needed this referendum?
Allan Woodstrom November 10, 2011 at 04:53 AM
I agree with Robert's comments. Good schools = higher property values. That said, if I remember right, the letter I received mail seemed to indicate that there would be an increase from $300 and some change to nearly $700, so I can see how people saw that increase as too much. It seemed like it was an all or nothing vote. And while I am not sure about the regulations of a referendum, it would have been nice to perhaps see a tiered level of support. Beyond that, there could have been some strategic thought given to what was needed and what was asked for. For example, if voters had been given a choice to increase support for schools by $150, $300, or $450 or nothing at all. The $450 ask would have made the $300 seem not so hefty and the $150 would have given those people who were on the fence a better middle ground option.
Zack Olson November 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Brie, you're getting close to the issues. Mis-management of money is a huge reason they keep asking for more, they are like children that waste an allowance then ask for toys and candy. Another major issue is paying teachers that don't work, and I mean current taxes paying for retirement benefits. Name a private sector job that promises to pay your salary forever when you leave?
j bender November 10, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Hi Zack...Thanks to you and the other 14 residents who were willing to serve on the School Board. I actually voted for you because you were the only candidate I could find who was questioning, if not outright rejecting the referendum. Wish we could have had your perspective on the Board. Thanks again for putting yourself out there.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) November 10, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Hi Allan, the increase that was from around $300 to $700 was actually in per-pupil spending, not in actual property taxes. Property taxes on an average home worth about $185K would have only seen an increase of $119 per year, or about $10 a month. Some voters may not been aware of this, but I can't necessarily say a misunderstanding would've caused the measure to not pass. But, either way, a smaller option would've likely been easier to swallow because, while property taxes wouldn't have doubled if the levy passed, spending would've - which many were probably unhappy about.
Kevin Maleck November 10, 2011 at 07:04 PM
The amount of the request was tempered by surveys conducted last spring which showed pretty strong support at levels higher than the $10 per month. Of course, that was last spring. It is all water under the bridge until next year and the district will make cuts where necessary. Our district staff and members of the Fiscal Planning Advisory Committee are a sharp bunch and will do their best. The coming cuts should usher in an "all hands on deck" approach from our community. If we can't support the district with cash, we can certainly help by rolling up our sleeves and volunteering. Caitlin, I will be contacting you about an article on a math tutoring volunteer corps/program we are looking to build in the near future. In the mean time, I'll take anyone who may be able to help in a classroom for 45 minutes, one day a week. Contact me at kmaleck@damico.com
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) November 10, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Will do Kevin. Thanks.
Robert November 11, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Is there government waste in America? Absolutely. But this money was not going to buy a $1 billion fighter jet, line some oil company's profits, or pay for a tropical vacation for some politician. This was going to support our schools. I don't see too many teachers, custodians, or administrators driving Mercedes to school every day. Strong schools are good for everyone. Anyway you look at it; financially, socially... The referendum passing would only result in good.

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