Election Day: Do you know what's on your ballot?
South Washington County voters on Tuesday will set the stage for School District 833 funding decisions in the next couple of years — and help decide who will have a part in those budget actions.
Five of seven South Washington County School Board seats are up for grabs among 17 candidates who will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. Voters also will weigh in on a three-question referendum that, if approved, will raise property taxes to put new money into school staffing and improvements as well as to buy land for new school buildings.
Meanwhile, voters in District 834 will decide a levy ballot question, outlined in this story.
Here is a rundown of what’s on the District 833 ballot:
There are three referendum questions on the ballot.
Approval of Question 1 would renew two existing operating levies and would not increase property taxes. The two levies will generate $4.6 million a year for 10 years.
Question 2 would raise property taxes to provide an additional $6.9 million annually, or $337 per pupil, for a decade beginning next fall. School officials say the increase would be funneled into four areas: additional licensed staff, safety and security improvements; technology infrastructure upgrades; and reserve funds that have been tapped in recent years to reduce programming and staff reductions.
It is contingent on Question 1; if that doesn’t pass, neither can Question 2.
Question 3 is a bond measure seeking $8 million from property taxpayers to be used to purchase land for a new elementary school and a middle school. Three of four middle schools are nearing capacity, along with at least three elementary schools, and development projections in Woodbury and Cottage Grove point to district enrollment increases.
If Question 3 passes, district officials tentatively plan to go back to the voters in 2015 to seek funding for school building construction. If Question 3 doesn’t pass this year, Superintendent Keith Jacobus said the district likely would ask voters for funding for land acquisition and building construction in 2015.
Here are some examples of the annual residential property tax increases if all three referendum questions passed. (They take into account legislative changes that reduced property taxes.)
- $35 on $125,000
- $50 on $175,000
- $72 on $250,000
- $87 on $300,000
- $116 on $400,000
School Board election
Three people will be on the ballot for a two-year seat: Laurie Johnson, an incumbent and Woodbury resident; Susan Richardson, of Woodbury; and David Firkus, a Woodbury resident who has not responded to Bulletin inquiries for election coverage.
The two-year post will fill out a seat won by Leslee Boyd in 2011 and held for 2013 by Katy McElwee-Stevens after Boyd stepped down to move out of the district.
McElwee-Stevens, of Newport, is among 14 candidates seeking four four-year seats. The other candidates are: incumbent Tracy Brunnette, Cottage Grove; Michael Edman, Cottage Grove; Raj Gandhi, Woodbury; Fred Hess, Woodbury; Leilani Holmstadt, Cottage Grove; John Griffin Jr., Woodbury; Mike Thissen, Woodbury, David Kemper, Woodbury; Molly Lutz, Woodbury; Katie Schwartz, St. Paul Park; Sharon Van Leer, Woodbury. Safiyyah Cummings and Wayne Johnson also are on the ballot but said they are not campaigning. Board members Jim Gelbmann and Ron Kath are in the middle of their four-year terms.
Where to vote?
Don't know where your polling place is? Easy. Click here to access the Secretary of State's polling place finder.