November 8 was an exciting evening: Minnesota voters approved 123 of the 176 referenda on the ballot (126 school districts posted levies). The high number of successful levies – and in many cases, wide margins – means that voters agreed to raise their property taxes to provide additional dollars for their local schools.
Tuesday night’s ballot results tell us a couple of things: first, Minnesotans are reaffirming how much they value public education by making new (or in some cases, renewing) investments in local schools. In total, 76 percent of the 126 school districts passed at least one referendum. To adequately prepare our children to become Minnesota’s knowledge workforce – meaning students graduate from high school ready for college and careers – we need these investments to support our teachers and students.
Art Rolnick on MPR recently asked our state: “When will we invest in public education?” Yesterday, Minnesota voters demonstrated that they do. As MinnCAN and other stakeholders continue to improve public education, we are hopeful that our state will follow the direction that our voters took on Election Day.
We are impressed and commend Minnesotans for making this important investment. The next step is two-fold:
1. Confront a staggering achievement gap by enacting policies that will benefit all children in Minnesota; and
2. Foster a culture of accountability in schools to ensure the greatest return on our investment.
We support giving our teachers, administrators and school board members the flexibility to do what they do best: creating learning environments for our students to thrive. With yesterday’s renewed local investments, the conversation is now about making sure those dollars are spent wisely. Join MinnCAN to be part of the conversation.