The Anoka-Hennepin School Board voted this week to go to voters this fall with three levy questions. The first two would renew levies that are set to expire. The third question would raise new money to address growing mental health concerns.
Question one would renew the $34.5 million operating levy last renewed by voters in 2012. Funding is used to maintain programs and services along with keeping class sizes down. As an existing levy, there would be no tax increase.
Question two renews a $4.5 million capital levy for technology first approved by voters back in 2011. As an existing levy, there would be no tax increase.
Question three would involve a tax increase of about $10 a month for 10 years for a $250,000 home. The operating levy would be used to extend mental health and social emotional support for students including academic support for underachieving students.
"Question one for me, if it weren't to pass, that's a dismantling of our school district, that would be brutal," said school board member Bill Harvey. "It's not about scaring the public, it's not about anything other than look at the reality, take 10% of your family's operating income and make it go away and try to make it through a couple of months, not gonna happen."
"To me this is about giving people a choice and so I will support all three (questions) going forward," said school board member Anna Dirkswager. "I have heard over and over and over again that we need to give support to students for social emotional learning and to help them bridge this gap that we've had this past year and $10 a month is a great start and a way to do that is desperately needed."
District 11 residents will cast their votes on the three questions on Tuesday, November 2. A recent survey conducted on behalf of the school district showed more than 80% support for renewing the current levies and more than 60% support for question three.