Brooklyn Center residents voting on school levy Tuesdayby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Brooklyn Center school district officials are hoping the ninth time's the charm as a school levy goes to a vote Tuesday.
Voters have defeated eight consecutive funding levies put up by the school district in the last six years. The last was defeated in September via mail-in ballot. This time, voters will cast their ballots in person at the polling place at Brooklyn Center High School. The polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Brooklyn Center schools superintendent Keith Lester said this levy asks taxpayers to keep funding at the current level -- $337 per student annually.
"We've continued to make it, if you want to call it that, because we've been able to get grants and do innovative things but we're starting to run dry," he said. "Now it's time to pass the levy and we'll still have to be scraping, but at least we won't have to scrape that much deeper."
In the past 10 years, Brooklyn Center taxpayers have each paid about $50 a month under the existing school levy, which is about to expire, Lester said. The September referendum asked voters to replace the expiring levy with a larger levy, which would have resulted in a property tax hike of about $66 a year for the owner of a $125,000 house.
"If we don't pass the levy, we'll have to find or cut another $600,000," Lester said. "We have cut so much now that in all liklihood there's no where else to cut but in classroom teachers, specific instructional supports, and things like that."
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Tuesday's vote would be by mail-in ballot. The voting will take place in person, at a polling place at Brooklyn Center High School.