A FEW NOTES ABOUT THE ELECTION
At the August 14 School Board meeting, the School Board adopted a resolution establishing a special election the ROCORI School District. The election will be conducted on Tuesday, November 7th. The election was set for the purpose of voting on a capital project levy authorization to fund technology.
I would like to spend some time over the next few weeks to highlight information about the referendum and the rationale for the election.
REFERENDUM BALLOT QUESTION
The School Board has proposed a capital project levy authorization. Using some of the language from the ballot (so that voters may be familiar with the wording), the proposed levy authorization was set “in the amount of 1.836% times the net tax capacity of the school district. The proposed capital project levy authorization will raise approximately $250,000 for taxes payable in 2018, the first year it is to be levied, and would be authorized for ten years.”
The ballot continues with this language: “The estimated total cost of the projects to be funded over that time period is approximately $2,500,000. The money raised by the capital project levy authorization will provide funds for the acquisition, installation and maintenance of technology infrastructure improvements, instructional equipment, and website updates.”
The question being asked of voters is stated this way: “Shall the capital project levy authorization to fund technology proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 750be approved?” The answer, to be determined by voters, is either yes, the levy is authorized or no, it is not.
Regardless of the effects of the referendum, Minnesota law requires us, as a School District, to clearly state on the ballot the phrase, “By voting "yes" on this ballot question, you are voting for a property tax increase.”
MORE SIMPLE DESCRIPTION
The statutes governing elections and referendum proposals defines the way things are worded on the ballot. Sometimes, the language can be confusing for people because of the many elements that must be included and particular phrasing required.
In more simple terms, the referendum proposal asks voters to allow the ROCORI School District to apply taxes to property within the district which would raise $250,000 per year for each of the next ten years. The additional tax revenues could only be used toward technology expenses—to support our networks including WIFI, the computers and other technology tools that are used across the district, and to update and improve our website and social media.
If the referendum is approved, the funds can ONLY be used to support technology. These resources cannot be shifted to other areas, programs or directions. Technology is the only use of the funds.
VOTER AND VOTING INFORMATION
Any eligible voter residing in the school district may vote in the election. Ballots may be cast on election day or absentee ballots may be cast prior to election day.
The election polls will be open at 7:00 a.m. and will close at 8:00 p.m., on November 7. A voter must be registered to be eligible to vote in this election. An unregistered individual may register to vote at the polling place on election day.
On election day, voting takes place at the combined polling place designated across the district. The three combined polling places used in District elections are:
1. River Lakes Civic Arena Richmond, Minnesota
This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 750 located in the City of Richmond and Munson, Farming and Eden Lake Townships.
2. Cold Spring City Hall Cold Spring, Minnesota
This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 750 located in the City of Cold Spring and Collegeville, Wakefield and Luxemburg Townships.
3. Rockville City Hall Rockville, Minnesota
This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 750 located in the City of Rockville and St. Joseph and Maine Prairie North Townships.
Voters who wish to vote by absentee ballot may do so in person at the ROCORI Public Schools District Office between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through November 6th. Absentee ballots may also be cast by mail through Stearns County.
All absentee ballots require the voter to fill out an application form. In the district office, the voter will receive a ballot after the application form has been reviewed and voter registration is determined. The ballot is cast in the office and then returned to Stearns County.
Absentee ballots, by mail, mean the application form is submitted to Stearns County. Stearns County then verifies information and mails out the absentee ballot which is then returned to the County.
Minnesota law has changed from previous elections. There is no longer a requirement that an individual express the reason or provide a reason to vote by absentee ballot. This means any resident of the district, for whatever reason they choose, may vote by absentee ballot anytime prior to November 7. Absentee ballots cannot be cast on election day.
Additional information about the election will be offered over the next couple weeks. We want voters to be informed about the election so that good decisions may be made about the referendum. Direct mailing documents are in the process of going out to property owners in the district to share information as well.
Residents with questions about the referendum may also call the ROCORI District Office for additional information, clarification, or details about the election.