Floodwood School Referendum Fails; Layoffs, Budget Cuts To Follow

FLOODWOOD, Minn. – The Floodwood School District ISD 698 is preparing for budget cuts and layoffs after a referendum Tuesday night was voted down by just 16 votes — 352 to 336.

The referendum would have authorized a 10-year tax levy on local property worth $3,350 per pupil.  This would have meant a home valued at $150,000 would pay $437 in property taxes in 2020 compared to $140 in 2019.

Before the election, administrators said a failed referendum would cut 11.65 full-time equivalent positions, combine classes in the elementary school and eliminate elective classes in the high school, additional reduction in support staff.

The president of Education Minnesota sent out a press release shortly after the failed vote.

“The state’s investment in its public schools has lagged behind inflation and actual costs for many years. This election shows that local taxpayers are sick and tired of being asked to the pick up the tab,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “State lawmakers should pay attention.”

“The outcome of this election will affect the lives of many deserving students and professional educators in Floodwood,” Specht. “Our union will mobilize its resources to help the educators who will lose their jobs and support those who will remain in extremely difficult conditions.”

The press release also quoted a Floodwood teacher who wanted the referendum to pass.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who came out and supported our kids and our community. As educators, we will continue to do our best for our students every day. The students are our future and without this referendum, it will be that much harder to provide the best for them, but we will do what we can with what we have. Unfortunately, we will be saying goodbye to some amazing teachers and staff. I have always been proud to be a Polar Bear and always will be, but tonight I am saddened by the results,” said Amanda Fjeld, a Floodwood math teacher.

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