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LETTER: District 622 will be good stewards of new money

On behalf of our students, school board and all staff in School District 622 (North St. Paul-Oakdale-Maplewood), I want to extend my deep gratitude to our community for voting to increase our operating levy. This funding will allow us to maintain existing academic programs, support struggling learners, improve student and school safety, and expand accelerated learning opportunities.

In an election where every vote mattered, residents and business owners chose to invest in student learning and our future workforce. By a margin of 54.5 percent yes (22,081 votes) to 45.5 percent no (18,409 votes), voters approved the school district's funding request to increase its operating levy by $630 per student for 10 years, adjusted annually for inflation. The increase was needed due to inadequate state funding resulting in nearly $34 million cut from the district budget since 2005-06.

As an individual with more than 20 years of experience in education, I know that principals and teachers cannot do it alone. It takes community support to give students the best opportunity to succeed in life and pursue their goals and dreams. This comes from parental involvement, help from volunteers and business partnerships. All of these components were in play throughout this levy campaign.

A special thank you to the District 622 School Board, Citizens for 622 Committee, North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Education Association, Platinum Bank, and the mayors in each of the communities we serve. I want to thank the parents, community and staff volunteers for their leadership and support with voter outreach and education. This levy was successful because of the continued support of residents. Whether you helped with door knocking to inform others about the benefits of passing this measure, put a yard sign on your boulevard or voted yes, we couldn't have done it without you.

We know that strong schools build strong communities, so I thank you for your generosity and belief in public education. District 622 works hard to manage taxpayer funds. This will be the first time we have increased our operating levy since 2002. Through transparency and fiscal accountability, we will be good stewards of the new funds you have entrusted us. I invite you to stay up to date by attending our monthly school board meetings, reading the district materials that are mailed to your home and signing up for our District 622 eNews via our website, isd622.org. You are also welcome to reach out to me at cosorio@isd622.org.

Christine Osorio

Cottage Grove

Editor's note: Christine Osorio is the District 622 superintendent. The referendum passed Nov. 8, and results were canvassed by the District 622 School Board Nov. 15.

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