Chaska, Minnesota | 18 June, 2019 | (952) 448-2650
More Weather
School tech levy fails by 216 votes
Nov 08, 2011 | 6056 views | 82 82 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District 112 voters rejected a technology levy on Nov. 8, by 216 votes, with 2,942 voting yes and 3,158 voting no, according to the District 112 website.

The percentage was 48.2 percent “yes” to 51.8 percent “no.”

There were 6,100 ballots cast.

Chanhassen was the only city in District 112 that voted in the majority in favor of the levy.

The breakdown was:

Chaska:

Yes: 1,225

No: 1,367

Chanhassen

Yes: 971

No: 917

Victoria/Laketown Township

Yes: 484

No: 518

Carver:

Yes: 262

No: 356

The levy would have provided approximately $1.98 million a year for ten years toward technology equipment and programs – approximately $220 per pupil.
Comments
(82)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
MelindaZZ1
|
November 10, 2011
"I also don't think it's fair to say that this referendum was about equipping kids extravagantly. I..." - This is simply not true. The district does not equip kids, it equips staff. The staff gets the best of money benefits pensions offices training. The staff wants to have what other districts have. Parents are responsible for equiping kids.

MelindaZZ1
|
November 10, 2011
It would have been nice if school administrators had not gone into defensive mode every time some1 questioned the reasons for the tech levy.

It would have been nice if they admitted they were not communicating their ideas very well and either needed to go back to the drawing board or admit that the tech levy was just a $grab.

It would have been smarter for them to not use the old tired lines about our district getting less than other districts. Only in schooldistrictland are staff compared to their neighbors in incomes.

I thought the administrators often sounded defensive & arrogant when reacting to criticism rather than finding a way to be humble and ask nicely.

They had a shot at passing this levy for maybe less money.
No More Spending
|
November 10, 2011
To John Brunette-

Thank you for your well-stated commentary! I, and many others out there, couldn't agree with you more!!

Ever considered running for the school board?
JohnBrunette
|
November 10, 2011
I hadn't until recently. But another friend of mine has suggested it over the last several weeks as well. Frankly, I don't know if I could stand it. Some of the garbage I heard at the Levy Q&A made me sick. I heard from one member how Bush's No Child Left Behind was killing the district. To which, I asked, I thought Ted Kennedy co-authored that? Why just blame blame Bush? I think I be surrounded by this kind of rhetoric, rather than constructive dialogue, but I could be wrong. Maybe I'll attend a meeting some time and see what it's like.
Chanhassen Resident
|
November 10, 2011
We are new to the city of Chanhassen so it has been interesting to get familiarized with some of the contention between Chanhassen and other cities like Chaska. I would like to add the following.

1. I live in Chanhassen and voted "No" on the levy because it did not make sense.

2. The school board is not well informed enough or even capable of making sound decisions surrounding technology spending. Although I must say this is fairly typical of other school districts and not just the one we are talking about here.

3. I agree with pretty much everyone else on the issues in this thread, but there are some points missing here which I will call out.

- The school board asked for money, but they did a very poor job of actually articulating what and where the money would be spent. Creating a laundry list of potential purchasable items IS NOT a plan. For instance, there was mention of needing additional technology for science curriculum. WHAT curriculum exactly? HOW will this new curriculum help our kids? WHERE will it be implemented in terms of the grade level?

The point I am making is that school board, and potentially others in academia, are either incapable or unwilling to actually do the background work required to backup why they need additional money. The school board wanted a blank check and basically only provided vague notions of how the money would be spent.

To be clear, I actually have no problem paying extra taxes IF THE FOLKS IN ACADEMIA CAN ACTUALLY SET FORTH A REAL PLAN THAT DESCRIBES IN DETAIL HOW AND WHERE THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT. Is this asking to much? After all, these same folks would expect no less from their own students when assigning a research report.
Classic Minded
|
November 09, 2011
Father of 4, basically, you are saying that you would rather have your kids learn technology than develop life long learning skills? What happens if the power goes out? I say buy your own kids the computer/iPad of your dreams and let's focus on learning.
Father of 4
|
November 09, 2011
Our Children develop The best life long learning skills at home, the home includes Grandparents, extended Family, Our Friends Homes, etc. and in their faith community.

If the power goes out No problem, instead of selling all the power that the wind turbine generates, this is what is happening with the power, just in case you did not know, we can use that. It will be more then sufficient for all. My Children already have the best out there, for your information. Your are correct however on, lets focus on learning, not placating to the school board. By the way do you ever go up to the high schools and see all the police there?

Lighten up Classic Minded.
Father of 4
|
November 09, 2011
I say sell the schools, get rid of the teachers , buy the students the best computers ipads, iphones,

Every Year Get them new ones, updated stuff.

Most all kids have them allready, but hey why not take the new stuff. These kids do most of their school work on this stuff anyway...

Look at what we would save. Most kids are taking college classes on line, NO need for a teacher, just check in on line. Yes we will have to save one of the old , smaller , schools for a staff to answer the kids on line, but hey it could work. Our kids will not have to wake up their teacher when they come into the class room, or deal with the old ones that are outdated and paid way to much for sleeping. Could work , what do you think
JohnBrunette
|
November 09, 2011
I'd like to take a moment to thank the Chaska Herald for their work bringing the truth out about this levy, and allowing others the venue to counter the half truths the district was peddling. The fact that the paper didn't endorse the levy had to have an effect in the outcome. It's good to have open and honest discussion, and see a paper with the integrity to stand up for it's readers.
JohnBrunette
|
November 09, 2011
It does seem that some of the rules were broken regarding political signs according to the City of Chaska:

Temporary political campaign signs are

allowed subject to the following requirements:

i) Political signs are prohibited within public use districts. Within a

residential district, the sign area shall be no more than 16 square feet

and, if the sign is freestanding, it shall be no more than six (6) feet in

height. In all other districts, the sign area shall be no more than 32

square feet and, if the sign is freestanding, it shall be no more than

ten (10) feet in height;

ii) The sign refers to a candidate or issue to be voted upon locally;

iii) The sign shall be permitted for a period not to exceed 45 days before

and five (5) days after an election or public referendum;

iv) Not permitted on public property or right-of-way;
anonymous
|
November 09, 2011
Is the community center public property? Is the middle school ublic property? I would assumed both are since tax dollars bought and support both. For sure though, all the signs along Enger were in the right-of-way.
anonymous
|
November 09, 2011
I'd like to know who in the City of Chaska's administration gave permission to have the vote "Yes" signs displayed on the community center's property.
JeanJa
|
November 09, 2011
I wanted to see what the comments were from our friends in Chanhassen so I went to the Chanvillager.com website. The headline "School Tech Levy Fails by 216 votes" is not even listed on the front page. When you go a bit deeper to find comments regarding the vote are far and few between. I find this interesting.
JohnBrunette
|
November 09, 2011
I took some heat from the district when posting the budget numbers that were old. When they supplied me with new numbers, the premise was the same. The district chooses to compare 112 to schools that had tech levies, while failing to disclose that we already spend more than these districts do. And we do spend more. Whether for new schools or for new technology, or administrative salaries, in the end we are paying more per student.

I'm for good technology in the schools, but I'm against a special budget for it. It's not necessary to have special budgets with special tax levies attached to them. We've been able to keep pace with technology for years without a special budget or a special levy. Other districts make do with less, why can't we.

People are bringing up the Chan High School with good reason. It takes a lot of nerve to hit us for a 92 million dollar project, (more with operating levies), with every possible amenity, and then come back 2 years later and say there's no money. The district could have easily built a great school for less, and we'd have more money for technology. It's seems to me that if anyone is ripping off our children, it's the district's inability to manage funds efficiently.
brickcity
|
November 09, 2011
I think the distinction between whether the spending is on new schools or operational expenses is important. To compare the total spend of District 112 with Minnetonka or Eden Prairie -- districts who are through with building new schools -- is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. If you look at other rapidly growing districts that have been building schools, like say, Farmington and Lakeville, the district is about middle-of-the-pack.

From an operating perspective, District 112 is a pretty efficient district. They spend less than most peer districts and they produce test scores that are comparable to the peer group. They spend less than the state average on administration and have made large cuts to administration over the last few years.

Chanhassen H.S. (and the 92 million price tag) was approved by the same voters that seemingly have changed their minds today. That vote took place in 2006. Since that time, 5 of the 7 school board members have been replaced by voters and most of the top administrators in the District have been changed.

Reasonable people can disagree on the necessity of the technology referendum. I don't see a whole lot of reason to support the notion that the District has been wasteful with its budget, though.
JohnBrunette
|
November 09, 2011
But it was the ditrict who tried to make it apples to apples. The District sent out those postcards to compare us to other districts, without giving us thw whole story. Those postcards were clearly designed to show a lack of funding in our district, where none occured.

In the end, you have to look at the entire picture, because that bottom line comes to the taxpayers. If we had to build more schools due to grow, then gues what, we also get new revenue. The people, the more taxes that are collected, the more need for schools, etc.

What matter to each and every family is thier own bottom line. Whether we are spending more for bricks or chips, it all comes from us, and we have a right not to be manipulated it to thining we're somehow shorting our children. We clearly are not. We pay more than these districts, according to the District's own data. I have it if you would like to see it.

We have finite pool of money available to spend. It's not endless. You cannot simple come to the public every few years and ask for more money. Especially when the economy is in poor shape, and unemployment is so high. It's just not feasible to continue to treat the tax payer as your personal candy store.

WOuld it be nive if every child had a nine course meal, and went a marble place, and had the latest laptops, and touch pads, and clickers, and wireless everything, and brand new books, and desks made of gold, sure it would. But someone has to pay for that, and so the district has to do what the rest of us are doing. Budget smartly, live within your means, and don't build extravegant facilities at the expense of what is needed to educate.

When the district decided that new high school should be so ridiculouly expensive, they took the future technology out of our children's hands. The tax payers saw the need for a new school, and while many balked at the price tag, more went the notion of "well, its for the kids". If you thought that way, then you are the problem. When you waste money on one "extra" you're robbing a need from somewhere else. You have to be sensible, and most of all respectful with other people's money.
brickcity
|
November 10, 2011
I think you have to look at the long term picture, though. The district has quite a bit of debt service that it going to roll off in the next few years. Even if this referendum had passed, the per pupil voter approved referendum amounts would be back to where we are today in four years, and $600 less per pupil by the end of the 10-year technology levy (it will now be $800 less).

I also think that living in a high-growth area means you may have to pay a little more in the short run. I don't think it's fair to say that we can't afford to pay for things in the classroom because we also had to pay for building new schools.

I also don't think it's fair to say that this referendum was about equipping kids extravagantly. It's about making it so kids don't have to go three weeks without seeing the inside of a computer lab (as my elementary schooler did earlier this year). It's about making sure that the equipment is technically capable of running the software required for classroom use.

Finally, I hope all of you who resent the District using the taxpayer as their "personal piggy bank" will hold our representation in St. Paul accountable as well for their actions. Their votes have taken $10.6 million away from the district over the last two budgeting cycles.
JohnBrunette
|
November 10, 2011
Again, I think you're missing the point. It's not about whether or not it's fair that we have had to pay for schools. It's a matter of how much money you are taking from local families. Whether the money is for any number of expenses, from buildings to schools to salaries, there's only so much you can take from us.

And as to the extravagances, I waSn't refering to this levy. These occurred on the Chan High Levy. Had the district not tapped our resources so hard back then, perhaps we'd have some left in the tank for this levy.

That's what frustrated me at the Q&A for this levy. It seemed a foreign concept that the bottom line is that this district is taking more from it's citizens than the others they were comparing against. Now, if the previous levy had been smaller, and thus the debt service lower, we might be able to chip in. It's not the hard to figure out. As Ms. Kahring said, it seems like we pay more, because we do pay more. That's the bottom line.
re..flykfcm
|
November 09, 2011
You were right. My comments should have been totally on the referendum, but I still don't like being asked for more money when we spent mega bucks for a new chan high school and the boundaries from a sports standpoint are beyond not equal. Chan gets no more of my money for anything,pay for your own school and I will vote yes next time.
No More
|
November 09, 2011
I did vote no. It was tough, but I am tired of the board spending, and most of the time wasting our money. I simply did not trust them to spend it the right way. I have chipped in for turf, a pool cover and a partially filled Chan HS( I still can't understand why..the HS was a total waste). Our youth sports programs are a joke, Chan has many more kids, and there teams are deeper because of it. NOT better, just deeper. So we are asked again to put more money in the pot, not this time. Time to reboundary, equal things out. But at the end of the day, our board needs to make tough decisions, look at your budget and find the money, and stop asking us for it until YOU do a better job.
flykfcm
|
November 09, 2011
re:No More

"Our youth sports programs are a joke, Chan has many more kids, and there teams are deeper because of it. NOT better, just deeper."

Yes it is true the Chan HS area has more kids but.....Really? Please shed some light on how this has anything at all to do with the referendum? BTW our next board meeting is the 1st Sunday in December. Feel free to stop by with your ideas for improvements.

CCFA President

Tim Craig
|
November 09, 2011
According to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s web site there are 33,757 (approximately) registered voters in the Eastern Carver County school district. 6100 votes were cast. Using my CHS math that means 27,657 did not. It sends a message about how little people care about “Technology”. Now, if the 2942 voters that do care about “Technology” would have used some “Technology” to get 217 of the 27,657 that don’t care about “Technology” we would not be having this discussion about “Technology”.
flykfcm
|
November 09, 2011
I was curious to that number. That is truly a sad statement....
Technology Lover
|
November 09, 2011
I care a great deal about technology and I voted "No". I attended and graduated from Chaska High School without a "Technology Referendum". Even without any kind of special technology budget, we had good modern technology to work with. I have a well-paying high-tech job. As with most technology used in modern jobs, I didn't learn the technology from High School. Four years of high-school-level technology will not prepare you for a lifetime of learning new technology.

The most important skill I learned in all my years of school is HOW TO LEARN, not how to use Windows (insert version here). Whatever technology would be financed by the referendum would have either been irrelevant to the supposed goal of the students learning technology (such as the quiz-show-responders), or will be obsolete by the time the kids are in a position to have it be useful in their careers.

In general, kids learn more about technology outside of the classroom than they ever will in the classroom.

"Technology" is no longer a buzzword and is a part of every day life. As such, I believe any technology used by the schools should be funded by the everyday budget.

Schools today should focus more on teaching the basics that seem to have been forgotten in everybody's goal to be modern, including basic English skills. A piece of literature from the school stated one of the uses of the funding would be for "PC's". Don't modern schools teach that apostrophes are never for plurals? That should be "PCs", not "PC's". I don't mean to focus on that, but it was just an example of what I mean by "the basics". I do not believe it is a typo. I believe people actually think that apostrophe is correct.

Technology isn't the solution. Teachers are. A good teacher doesn't need a technology referendum.
Enough is ENOUGH
|
November 09, 2011
I too voted NO! My child goes to Chan. HS and it disturbs me to see the waste in the district. Last year in the Biology class they did not have the funding for basic lab supplies (simple beakers and slides) so the teacher had to teach with a lab (really). The teacher with a PHD ended up losing her job because she spoke to the parents about the issue, not complained just discussed. All you have to do is take a walk down to the fitness room and see the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent on fitness equipment and see the school board has no idea how to spend our hard earned tax dollars wisely. Does a middle school student need an I-pad to learn? Quality teachers go A LOT FURTHER than technology! Wise up school board!
Old time Chan Boy
|
November 09, 2011
Yes I voted NO hears why...The public school system is so dysfunctional that a yes vote would be compariable to putting a bow tie on a pig. Public school districts can't be trusted any longer if they ever could. Any system that would continue to support failed progress is terribably flawed. We need to reorganize the entire system. Teachers should not be allowed to be represented by unions that don't have our childreds future as a priority. We need at will employees that can easily be replaced when appropriate. Just like most of the rest of us. We need parents that are a part of their childrend education and don't use the school system as an expensive baby sitter. We reciently allowed the School board to trick us into a second high school we did not need, and noe 2 new schools sit both 1/2 empty. Closre the Chasks High School and fill the new chaqn school. We could lay off at least 1/2 of the teachers and staff from the closed Chaska high school. Then we would have the available funding for technology....
spell check
|
November 09, 2011
This is the best post I've read from someone who voted "no". Misspellings, poor grammar....yikes. I'm guessing education probably has never been a priority for you.
Out in Carver
|
November 09, 2011
To "disappointed" - I also agree that you are missing the point. The reason most people voted "no" for this referendum is because we cannot afford an increase in our taxes. In case you haven't noticed, we are in a recession.

Also, I take issue with your comment to come into the classroom and spend some time at Chaska El. Three of our children did go to Chaska El..They are now in high school and middle school and two of these Chaska El. students (who had very little technology back then) are top students who take AP coarses 2 years ahead of their grade level!

Let's stop blaming it on not enough technology and let's start digging in and working with our kids and teachers. They need smaller class sizes and involved parents not new ipads!

We need to start thinking creatively on how we can work with what we have. That is teaching our students fiscal responsibility.

We as taxpayers are asked to do more with less. We should expect the same of our schoolboard and district as well?

We are disappointed in a liberal schoolboard that is not being held accountable for the spending!
Facts Please
|
November 09, 2011
APPROVAL OF CAPITAL PROJECT LEVY AUTHORIZATION

The board of Independent School District No. 112 (Eastern Carver County Schools) has proposed a capital project levy authorization of 3.37% times the net tax capacity of the school district. The money raised by this authorization will provide funds for the acquisition, installation and support of curriculum and improved technology and technology systems in various school district facilities and the purchase of instructional equipment. The proposed capital project levy authorization will raise approximately $1,983,800 for taxes payable in 2012, the first year it is to be levied, and would be authorized for ten years. The estimated total cost of the projects to be funded over that time period is approximately $19,838,000. The projects to be funded have received a positive review and comment from the Commissioner of Education. Shall the capital project levy authorization proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 112 be approved? BY VOTING "YES" ON THIS BALLOT QUESTION, YOU ARE VOTING FOR A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE.

The net tax capacity of the school district changes annually based upon the property appraisals of homes, businesses, etc.. That said, the total amount of revenue (3.37% times the net tax capacity of the school district) may increase or decrease significantly over the course of the 10 year period. The plan put forth by the school board assumed expenditures based on the approximately 1.98 million per year increase with no mention of how any surplus or deficit would be managed. Maybe any surplus could be used to finance the debacle the Victoria ice arena has become. (see the Chaska Herald article dated Feb 25, 2011) In the event of deficits, which technology expenditures would be deemed unnecessary?

Expecting the mantra "it's for the kids" to continually carry the issues when asking taxpayers to make additional sacrifices is a failed strategy. Provide facts, be forthright (there is a reason this referendum was requested in an odd-numbered year election-lower voter turn out was expected to work in favor of supporters) and work hard to regain the trust and confidence of district taxpayers. There is no doubt the taxpayers of District 112 value a quality education for all children. We also expect a quality performance from those entrusted to provide that education and many do not feel we are receiving one.

Chaskaoutsider
|
November 09, 2011
Nicely said...
no more taxes
|
November 09, 2011
Well done! Our school board has performed miserably the last five years and if they had led a company, they would all be fired by now. Every mailer I received, and there were many, were totally biased and did not present all the facts. I asked for fair balance and the facts from the school board and never received it. I emailed Jim Bauck twice asking for the cost of printing and mailing all these biased peices that were sent out and never heard back. We are on to you school board and will not put up with the mismanagement of our tax dollars any longer. Don't come asking for more money until you get your act together. You have created a mountain of debt with the half empty $93 million high school and now we all have to work our way out of it
Kudos
|
November 09, 2011
Chaska has always supported education, ALWAYS. I wonder why Chanhassen turnout was so low. Is it because they have a new high school with up to date technology and their kids are taken care of? This referendum also failed because ISD112 School Board rubber stamped staff's recommendation without questioning it. To go ahead with a referendum because a survey says it will be supported is the wrong reason. We have a district that appears to many people to be broken in many ways including going forward to build a second high school because it was approved (by about 200 votes I believe) even though the economy was on a downhill slope and continues to be. It would have been wise to stop and discern what was taking place and wait. Why did they spend leftover money on artificial turf instead of "technology improvements"? Boundaries need to be re-established for ALL schools. Pay increases should be stopped for everyone - the private sector continues to take cuts to avoid layoffs. These are difficult times. The checkbook is closed as families are tapped and living within their means. It's a sad day to be a teacher or student in ISD112. School Board Members I implore you to quit reading what administration gives you and get into the schools for a day so you can attest and see what is happening in the different communities. Don't announce your attendance and be treated as royalty. Come as a parent and see the real deal. Re-adjust the budget to allow for technology as other school districts do. Support the teachers that are teaching our children. Cut the overhead admin creating new programs that are budgeted to start but not continue - seriously why would you even consider starting these programs?
Steve Burns
|
November 09, 2011
I couldn't agree more! The new school and ASTRO TURF really made me bristle when they came about. By the way, why are two and three story schools the norm in our district? Seems to many of us that a five or six story building would have eliminated the CHS addition as well as the CHAN school! Vote yes for the kids? We would if it were true, but we chose to vote NO to the administrators!
flykfcm
|
November 09, 2011
uhh, Kudos....As to the turn out, in case you didnt know the middle schools and elementary schools are all mixed with Chaska/Chan residents. This ref dealt with the ISD 112 and not Chanhassen HS alone. This would have an effect on ALL kids in the district not jsut Chan HS. But thanks for playing.
wishforwisdom
|
November 09, 2011
“Not much of an investment?” Maybe so for some, if you only look at this issue, but the frustration of the public is from a broader perspective – city councils, city managers, city services, state and federal governments, church boards, county boards, banks, CEO’s, schools etc.. They are all to be looking out for us (public and our kids) and they all seem to think it’s all pocket change and we won’t notice that “it all adds up”
Stay Connected Facebook Twitter RSS Email
Scoreboard.mn Minnesota Business Directory Savvy.mn Edible Communities Local Jobs Garage Sales ThriftMart Events Calendar Ending Image