October 30, 2017 06:00 PM
Two months into the school year, students are settling in and school administrators are gearing up.
More than 70 school districts across the state plan to go to voters this election cycle to ask for money.
Fifty-one districts will ask voters to increase their funding through operating referendums.
Kirk Schneidawind, executive director of Minnesota School Boards Association, said the money pays for things like operating costs, programs and teachers.
"It’s become a fundamental basis for their funding stream -- for the operations of their school district," Schneidawind said.
Another 21 more big-money requests come in the form of bonds, or building projects.
"In 2017, since Jan. 1, we got 65 that have asked or will ask for the capital project or bond," Schneidawind said. "That is one of the highest we’ve seen in years."
Schneidawind says technology is a common focus among referendums.
"There’s no question about it, (districts) are incorporating technology more into the classroom," he said.
Many districts also like the idea of flexible learning spaces for students, a plan Burnsville High School put into action last year.
"The other unique thing you see is a lot of school districts working with their local governments, cities and counties, trying to find multi-purpose, multi-use space that is more sensitive, more economical for the taxpayers," Schneidawind said.
He added student security is at the center of all proposals.
"There’s no question about it, when districts are going through that remodel, repurpose, that’s one of their top priorities today," he said. "A single entry point where all of the community has to come in through one space and check in, so student safety is a top priority for districts as they look at this."
Updated: October 30, 2017 06:00 PM
Created: October 26, 2017 05:07 PM
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