Alden-Conger School referendum passes
Published 9:20 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Voters in the Alden-Conger School district on Tuesday approved an increase in the district’s operating levy that will be in place for the next 10 years.
According to unofficial results from the Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office, 463 people in Freeborn County voted in the election with 276 people, or 59.6%, voting in favor of the levy increase, while 187 people, or 40.4% voting against.
The question on the ballot asked voters whether to increase per pupil funding by $1,194, which would also be subject to an annual increase at the rate of inflation.
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The increase equates to an estimated new $557,000 of annual revenue.
“It’s great that the community has always supported the school, and it’s great to hear that they’ve continued to do it,” said School Board Chairman Chad Schmidt.
He said he recognized it was a tough ask — currently taxpayers only pay $206 per pupil. He noted he is sure that many of those who may have voted against the increase still support the school but were hesitant because of the nature of the economy right now.
Information on the school district’s website stated the new authorization would increase taxes $40 a month — or $488 annually — for the owner of a $100,000 home, apartment complex or commercial building. That doubles to about $81 a month — or almost $977 a year — for a $200,000 property.
Owners of a $500,000 home, commercial building or apartment complex would pay an additional $203 a month or about $2,442.
Agricultural property beyond the dwelling value, which includes the house, garage and one acre of land, will not be taxed. Seasonal recreational property will also not be taxed unless it is used as a primary residence.
The district has said the increase is needed as it deals with declining enrollment with minimal new state revenue, which has led to a reduction in general fund balance.
It states the funds will allow the district to maintain small class sizes, sustain technology, set up the long-term financial stability of the district and provide essential student programming.
It will also help retain and attract quality staff and keep pace with changing educational needs.
There were 955 registered voters ahead of the election, with 949 of those in Freeborn County and six in Faribault County.
Alden-Conger School has proposed to increase the district’s general education revenue by $1,194 per pupil, subject to an annual increase at the rate of inflation. The proposed new referendum revenue authorization would be first levied in 2023 for taxes payable in 2024 and applicable for 10 years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.
(1 of 1 precincts reporting)
Total votes: 463