2020 Levy Results

The+school+operating+levy+passed+Question+1%2C+but+failed+Question+2

Designed by Magnet Staff

The school operating levy passed Question 1, but failed Question 2

Sam Snitker, Writer

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, the taxpayers of Steele County were asked to vote on two separate questions. The first question on the ballot asked for the renewal of the district’s existing operating levy that is soon due to expire, this vote passed 8211-7474 (52% yes). The second question was dependent on the first and asked for an increase in the levy which would lead to an increase in taxes beginning in 2022. This vote did not pass by a margin of 6104-9533 (61% no). The first question passed, but the second did not. Now the question is: what effect will this have on Owatonna schools and community?

Due to the first question on the ballot passing, the average homeowner will see a tax increase of about 50 cents a month due to an inflation adjustment. This will allow for more relief for the school district, but cuts are still going to have to be made. According to the Owatonna Public Schools press release, this could result in potential lay-offs for teachers which could increase classroom sizes. There is also potential for cuts to school district support services, as well as academic, athletic and musical programs and activities. 

Though these cuts are possible, they should be minimal because of the first question passing which allows for at least some financial relief. OHS principal Mr. Kath said, “

It is great to see the community of Owatonna approved question one that allows us to maintain our efforts at OHS and across the district. Our hope is that state and national leaders will prioritize education funding as well and we will see our programs flourish and engage students at even higher levels”

— Mr. Kory Kath

.” 

Not only does the vote on the operating levy have a significant effect on school and district funding, it also has an effect on students. When asked about his opinions on the operating levy being renewed but not increased, OHS senior Joey Brein said, “I think that certain things should be prioritized over others in that we need to be funding the more impactful and necessary programs in our school to help the most students succeed in the future.” Obviously, students have different opinions on what programs have priority over others, but it is ultimately up to the district to decide how they manage their financial situation.

However, the second question did not pass, which means no added funding to the renewed operating levy. Claire Oswald, “Since I am a freshman, I might be seeing these cuts first hand. I hope the cuts that are made are minimal and don’t have a big effect”. The district will attempt another levy next year in hopes to reduce future cuts.