Technology, mental health among targets for metro school districts sending funding proposals to voters

[anvplayer video=”5065792″ station=”998122″]

For the roughly 38,000 students in the Anoka Hennepin School District, the last year and a half has been anything but normal for them.

"None of us as adults have ever had a time in our life where there was 18 months of disrupted school," Anoka-Hennepin School District Superintendent David Law said.

It’s the reason the school district is asking voters to invest in a new levy supporting mental health and social-emotional needs and academic support of students.

It would take federal funds the district has received from the pandemic and continue them when they expire.

"It would extend intervention support and mental health support for 10 years," Law said.

On a $250,000 home, residents would pay about $10 a month, according to the district.

There are two other questions for voters, but both are renewals to the districts general budget and capital projects and have no tax impact.

In Fridley, the district wants voters to approve changes to buildings.

For the last 25 years, fifth graders have been in the middle school building with grades six through eight.

"The goal of this election is to build four additional classrooms at each elementary site to allow our fifth grade classes to basically stay another year in the elementary schools," said Barbie Roesssler, director of finance for Fridley Public Schools.

The $11 million bond would cost about $28 a year for 17 years, for a $250,000 home.

Other districts are tackling technology, something they have never done before in North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale.

After devices were handed out for online learning during the pandemic, the district says they have become an integral part of the learning environment, and the district says there’s no regular source of funding to maintain or replace them.

Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools has also never asked for a technology levy but states one-time COVID-19 relief funds do not solve long-term technology needs.

District administrators admit going to voters is never easy, especially during a pandemic, and they are aware of that.

"It’s tough any time. It’s even tougher at a time when there’s a labor shortage in general, but it’s important." Law said.

Other metro shool districts putting tax levy proposals before voters next week include Stillwater; Eastern Carver County; Mahtomedi; Roseville; Shakopee; South Washington County; St. Michael-Albertville; West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan; and Monticello. There are dozens more in greater Minnesota.