Voters in Independent School District 196 approved a levy referendum question and elected incumbent School Board members Jackie Magnuson, Joel Albright and Sachin Isaacs, and newcomer Cory Johnson in the Nov. 5 school district election.
The levy referendum was approved with 14,380 yes votes (64 percent) to 8,171 no votes (36 percent), according to unofficial results. The approved question revokes the operating levy approved by district voters in 2013 and replaces it with a new 10-year levy that will raise $19 million more per year than the revoked levy, plus annual adjustments for inflation. The district brought the levy question as an alternative to making up to $18 million in additional budget adjustments over the next two years. The new revenue raised from the levy beginning in 2020 will be used to:
- Avoid additional budget cuts for at least the next five years;
- Restore budget adjustments implemented for this school year;
- Improve the classroom-staffing ratio at all grades;
- Increase mental health support for students at all schools, and
- Provide after-school activity buses at the district’s middle schools and high schools.
“We are pleased with the outcome and grateful that residents are willing to increase their investment in our schools to maintain and improve the quality programs that make District 196 a district of choice,” Superintendent Mary M. Kreger said. “The District 196 community has always supported a strong educational program and we will continue to be good stewards of the public’s resources.”
The top vote getter in the School Board election was Magnuson, a Rosemount resident, who garnered 8,816 votes in winning election to her ninth term on the board, according to unofficial results. Next, with 8,379 votes, was Albright, an Apple Valley resident elected to his fifth term on the board; Isaacs, of Burnsville, received 7,091 votes to win election to his second term, and Johnson, of Eagan, captured the final open seat with 5,849 votes.
The other eight candidates finished as follows: former board member Gary Huusko of Eagan, 4,875 votes; Maggie Bruecken of Apple Valley, 4,415 votes; Rebecca Gierok of Apple Valley, 4,372 votes; Curtis Henry of Rosemount, 4,180 votes; Laura Holm of Rosemount, 4,096 votes; Kristin Schaub of Apple Valley, 3,320 votes; Angela Noonan of Eagan, 3,156 votes, and Hannibal Smith of Apple Valley, 2,412 votes.
Of the 98,670 registered voters in District 196 on Election Day, 22,601 cast ballots in the School Board and levy referendum election, representing a 23 percent turnout among registered voters.
Results of the election will be canvassed by the School Board at a special meeting Nov. 12. The elected School Board members will take the oath of office at the Jan. 13 regular School Board meeting to begin their four-year terms.