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Kasson-Mantorville OKs excess levy

By Edie Grossfield

egrossfield@postbulletin.com

Joining most of the other 342 other school districts in Minnesota, Kasson-Mantorville public schools now has an operating levy override.

Residents in the growing Kasson-Mantorville school district voted Tuesday 801 to 647 for the operating levy. That means that for the next 10 years residents will pay extra property taxes to raise an additional $800,000 annually for more teachers, educational programs and other needs. It amounts to $350 per pupil unit.

Of the 5,363 eligible voters in the district, 1,446 voted, for a turnout of 27 percent. Several absentee ballots sent in for the referendum could not be counted because they were missing required information, election judges said.

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Waiting in Kasson High School's gymnasium Tuesday night as election judges counted the paper referendum ballots by hand, Superintendent Peter Grant smiled when he heard the results. He had seen the yes and no piles of ballots, and they looked pretty even.

"To be honest, I hadn't heard any negative groundswell or anything (about the referendum)," Grant said. "When you look at the vote they had last year, which was $700 (per pupil unit), this one they can afford. And, nobody wants to be last."

Kasson-Mantorville ranks last in per pupil spending in the state, although that might be different now.

"I'm thankful to the public. The majority said yes, it's time to move on," Grant said, adding the district has a lot of work to do, deciding how to implement the operating levy funding.

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