Voters in the Anoka-Hennepin School District approved two of four questions on the November 6 ballot, providing funds to avoid cuts in programs and services. "We are very grateful to the voters for approving both the first two questions with significant margins," said Superintendent Roger Giroux. "This is a real victory for our students and for education. We will be able to sustain the improvements we have been making."
Question 1, renewing the levy voters initially approved in 2002, passed with 29,772 "yes" votes to 18,417 "no" votes, approximately 62 percent to 38 percent. Question 2 passed with 27,179 "yes" votes to 20,987 "no" votes.
"Personally, I am just ecstatic that Questions 1 and 2 passed so we can continue to operate the portfolio of programs we have for students for the next five years," said Board Chair Michael Sullivan. "I don't believe it would have been possible without the kind of effort we had from so many - the parent committee, the teachers and all the staff who helped us communicate the issues to the public."
If Questions 1 and 2 had failed, the district faced $42 million in cuts for the next school year. It would have meant closing up to nine schools and cutting more than 500 teachers and over 200 additional staff.
Voters narrowly rejected Question 3, which would have reinstated free transportation for students living less than two miles from school, reduced fees for high school activities, reopened swimming pools, and provided technology support. The vote on this question was 23,831 "yes" to 24,193 "no". Defeat of this question means students will continue to pay the highest fees in the metro area to participate in activities, pools will remain closed and students living between one and two miles from school will continue to pay fees to ride the bus or find other ways to get to school.
A bond proposal to provide greater student access to technology also failed with 23,288 "yes" votes to 24,664 "no votes." As a result, many students will continue to work with obsolete technology and have fewer opportunities to complete state requirements that incorporate technology.
"The loss of Questions 3 and 4 was very disappointing. Similar questions failed by a very close margin in 2002 and again this year," said Sullivan. "The technology issue is a tough one, because despite the fact that it is integrated so completely into our society, there are still some who see it is a luxury rather than a necessity. We will need to find a way to fund it."