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Levy group’s spending tops $14K, reports show

Unions representing School District 833 teachers and principals gave over $15,000 to the committee that advocated for passage of the district’s referendum last month.

The United Teachers of South Washington County made a late-October donation of $12,200 toward the Committee for VOTE, according to the committee’s post-election campaign finance report. That was the committee’s largest contribution.

Also, the South Washington County Principals’ Association put $2,600 toward the committee’s campaign work, as did construction firm Kraus-Anderson, which builds schools among other projects.

The referendum included a levy renewal, a levy increase and a measure seeking $8 million for school building land acquisition. The levies passed; the bond measure failed. The levies’ passage paves the way for the district to hire additional classroom staff, among other new spending. Had the levies failed, the district predicted that spending cuts would be needed.

The teachers’ union donation amounted to $10 per District 833 teacher, union president Tom McCarthy said. That is what the union has done in past levy campaigns.

“We work to support education in our district and this is a small way we can help — without our members experiencing any out-of-pocket contributions,” McCarthy wrote.

The Committee for VOTE spent just over $14,000 on a variety of advertising, literature and promotional pieces. It also spent $600 for legal representation when a campaign finance complaint was lodged against the committee. An administrative law judge dismissed the complaint.

The committee banked $5,590 for future campaign efforts.

School Board races

There was less money spent by the candidates who sought five School Board seats.

Sharon Van Leer, who won a four-year seat, ran the most expensive campaign of the 17 candidates, according to campaign finance reports filed after the election. Van Leer spent over $1,400 on her campaign.

Molly Lutz, who narrowly missed winning a School Board seat, was the second-highest spender. She spent just under $1,000 on her campaign.

Most candidates did not raise or spend the $750 amount that triggers state-required campaign finance reports detailing contributions and expenses.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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