LETTER: Vote yes on school referendum

Published 6:11 am Thursday, October 29, 2009

I wish to urge the citizens of Austin to vote Yes to the Austin School District referendum on Tuesday, Nov. 3. With the 2009 State Legislature reducing funding to Minnesota school districts by over 1.8 billion dollars, the local taxpayers need to step up to insure our students continue to receive the high level of instruction that they have in the past.

Our educators have done their job. Pay freezes have been implemented amongst administrators, principals, custodians and secretaries.

Austin School District has applied for and received over $7 million in grants to enhance educational opportunities. These grants, however, must be used for their designated purposes and cannot by used for general expenses. It is only through an increase in the operating levy that we can make up for the shortfall in state dollars.

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Austin’s current levy of $719 per student is less than half of the maximum allowable levy. It is less than half of the levy of Winona’s district, and lower than the state average. Yes vote would help to insure that our students would have the opportunities now and in the future that other students enjoy around the state.

Tom Baudler