October 16, 2012

More yard signs: Elections and schools in Sartell and Sauk Rapids

So it's the season for yard signs.  As a newcomer to this country, I'm perennially perplexed at the democratic process here.  Surely, I ask myself, judges are not elected? (Yes.)  But the sources of funding should be the same for all school districts?  (No.)  Being one of those nosy foreigners, I have to at least try and find out what's going on here, particularly where it affects my kids directly, ECFE and schools.  Follow me.

Sauk Rapids-Rice are voting on the levy for schools again

Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes, Danes say.  Well, apparently people in Sauk Rapids are not so sure about that levy for schools.  They turned it down last year but the school district can't wait around for the money it's owed by the State of Minnesota (apparently the kids can't just stop going to school while we wait).  So it is putting it back on the ballot this year.

The Sauk Rapids-Rice school have made an estimate of how the referendum will affect your household and your elementary student, depending on whether the levy is passed or not. The school district has cut back during the last five years and now they claim there will be further cuts and higher fees for sports if the levy isn't passed. 

School funding is incredibly complicated: Some funding is federal, some (in Minnesota, most) comes from various state programs and some from local property taxes.  The local tax allocation, the levy or referenda revenue, must be put to a public vote and that's when the people of Sauk Rapids turn out to be different from most other school districts

Read more about the Levy for Learning at the school district's website.

Sartell-St. Stephen and Sauk Rapids-Rice districts both have new candidates for school board

But who?  If you weren't one of the dozen people present at a debate (Sartell-St Stephen have more scheduled for October) or happen to know one of the candidates, you may be as confused about their names as I am. 

In Sauk Rapids-Rice, four seats for four-year terms are up for election and the candidates are:
Tracey Fiereck, Mark Hauck, Jon Hull, Tracy Morse and Jan Solarz.  Hauck, Morse and Solarz are incumbents while Fiereck and Hull are running for the first time.

To my knowledge, all candidates support the levy.

In Sartell-St Stephens, 10 candidates are running for the board’s four seats. Eight candidates are running for three, four-year terms. They are Krista Laurich Durrwachter, Chris Gross, Pam Raden, Jason Nies, Molly Vogt, Keith Yapp, Dan Goetz and Christopher Condon. Two candidates are running for one, two-year term. They are Michelle Meyer and Gary Schnellert.

Most currently, the School Board voted to keep contested superintendent Hill with a 4-2 vote:  Board members Chris Gross, Gary Schnellert (both up for election), Dan Riordan, and Greg Asfeld voted to extend the contract, with board members Mary McCabe and Lesa Kramer voting against the approval.

Do you know more about the candidates?  Please tell us in the comments!