The biggest news is the overwhelming rejection of a statewide voucher plan in Utah.
Washington State has a requirement of a 60% super majority for school levies. There was a ballot measure to require only a simple majority. Returns aren’t final, but it appears to be failing. More info here.
Update: Voters say no to simple majority.
Many, many referenda in Minnesota (99 total, the second most in state history). 67.6% of the operating levy referenda passed; 50% of the districts asking for bond referenda and capital projects passed at least one request. For more, see these links:
Districts reel from levy failures
School levy wins don’t quiet calls for more state cash
School funding advocates offer day-after commentary on school levy elections
Latest: What’s next for schools? For many, plans for next referendum
Complete list of School Districts’ Referendum Results ( Minnesota School Boards Association)
Closer to home, there were a number of school referenda on the ballot Tuesday (and a few others, from September and October).
Voters Approve Abbotsford School Referendum (building).
Abbotsford passes $12 million building referendum
Denmark referendum fails for fourth time (building, maintenance and operation).
Galesville-Ettrick Voters Pass School Referendums (building).
Genoa City (building — I can’t find a report yet, but it passed, 250-227). Update: ‘Yes’ to school project.
Hartford voters reject school referendums (building and operating).
Holmen voters approve both school referendum questions (building and operation).
Lake Mills board members review failed referendum (10/2/07, building, maintenance, technology).
Montello considers program cuts (9/11/07, building and operating, failed).
New Glarus School Referendum Passes by 11 Votes (10/09/07, operating, see also here on AMPS).
Voters pass Prairie du Chien school issues (10/30/07, building and refinance).
Prescott school referendum passes (operating).
New Sun Prairie school approved (pool and pool operating failed).
West Bend rejects school referendum: It would have been state’s largest (building).
Park Falls/Butternut consolidation — Butternut voters reject Park Falls/Butternut consolidation (Park Falls voters voted yes, 965-389). More on Park Falls on AMPS here).
Thomas J. Mertz
(updated, 11/07/2007, 7:10 PM)
One response to “Election Roundup”
As a member of the Park Falls School Board, I would like to make several comments on the referendum to consolidate Park Falls with Butternut:
The most important reason that Butternut voters rejected the consolidation [by only five votes!] concerns a Butternut native named John Besse, a man who now lives in the Upper Peninsula, and who made a fortune in forest products. Mr. Besse has been a benefactor to the Butternut School District for several years [so far he’s given just less than $2 million], and, at the last minute, he wrote a letter to the local paper basically saying that he would continue to give money, but only to the Butternut school.
It’s difficult for a small town to give up their own school. The school is in many ways the centerpiece of a community, its identity and its pride. Many in Butternut felt that they would be surrendering that pride to the larger city to the south, and Mr. Besse’s money allowed them to hold on a little longer.
Of course, that’s only a temporary band-aid, and Butternut, Park Falls and many other school districts in the state will have to face the continuing problem of Wisconsin’s disastrous school funding system, a system that never really worked and is getting worse. There are simply not enough “Mr. Besses” out there to fund our schools out of civic generosity.
The time is now to make the changes necessary to secure the economic viability of our schools. But that time is running out. Now that our legislature has finally passed a budget, perhaps they’ll find time to go to work on this critical issue. Write to them and tell them to get busy!