Voters to decide fate of Brooklyn Center school referendumby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Brooklyn Center voters have until the end of the day Tuesday to return their ballots to decide a school referendum.
Brooklyn Center voters have rejected seven consecutive school levies over the last six years.
"As I tell people, we're the poster child for defeated levy referenda," said Superintendent Keith Lester. "I'd rather someone else take that over."
Lester said one challenge for his district in passing such questions is the fact that less than 30 percent of current Brooklyn Center homeowners have a student in the schools.
The district is already operating bare-bones, Lester said. But grants and partnerships help pay for things like mental health specialists.
"If we had to go out and have those positions in our school like a lot of other schools do, we'd be paying $80,000 apiece for them," Lester said. "We are being responsible with our dollars; we just are not funded adequately."
Tomorrow's ballot question asks voters to replace an expiring levy with a larger levy that would result in a yearly property tax increase of about $66 for the owner of $125,000 house.
Unlike the traditional go-to-the-polls election, this vote is being held by mail. Every voter in Brooklyn Center has already been mailed a ballot; they have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to get it back to the school.