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Five candidates vying for three spots on school board

More than 90 percent of the state’s school districts have operating levies in place. Hastings has two – one which was approved for another 10 years in 2011; the second one expires at the end of 2013. It was approved in 2005 for eight years.

This second levy is the one voters will decide whether or not to renew for another 10 years on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The Hastings School District is one of 57 schools districts holding levy referenda votes next week.

According to School District officials, funding aid from the State of Minnesota is not keeping pace. Although the state legislature approved additional tax relief for property owners across the state, the funds go directly toward tax relief. For Hastings School District property owners, that amounts to about $940,000.

This levy (as was the one in 2011) will add no new additional funds and will not increase the school district portion of property taxes for the next 10 years. That said, the school district portion of property tax bills would go down if the levy fails.

The levy will generate $4.2 million in funds each year.

“This levy is the renewal of a tax levy that was approved by the community in 2005 and the district is not asking for additional dollars,” school superintendent Tim Collins said. “Our student enrollment continues to decrease and therefore the taxable amount is decreasing as well.

“The number one reason that the renewal of this levy will not increase your school district taxes is due to the fact that the Hastings School District will be receiving an increase in state tax aid if the levy is approved. These are not additional dollars for the school district; the State of Minnesota has designated these aid dollars in an effort to lower the tax burden at the local level.”

If the levy vote fails, the School District will have to reduce its fund balanced by $4.2 million for 2014. The annual cuts will have been increased to offset the loss in funds. Likewise, the School District will not receive all of the property tax relief.

Operating levies are considered a significant part of funding education by school districts. They are not going away, said Collins.

School Board election

Hastings School district voters will also the look of the next School Board Tuesday. There will be at least one new person on the school Board.

Five candidates have filed for three positions – incumbents Dan Cater and Angie McGinnis, and newcomers Herman Fasbender, Scott Gergen and Russ Rohloff. The terms of office are four years.

Candidate profiles were published in the Oct. 24 edition of the Star Gazette.

Those elected will join Teresa Moes, Lisa Hedin, Vince O’Brien and Kyle Latch.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For information about where your polling place is, the best resource is the Minnesota Secretary of State’s polling place website, which can be found at:

Polling places in the area are as follows: Hope Lutheran Church, 16898 Michael Ave., all of the school district in City of Hastings Ward 1; Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 400 W. Ninth St., all of the school district in the City of Hastings Ward 2 and Nininger Township; United Methodist Church, all of the school district in the City of Hastings Ward 3; St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, 1401 W., 15th St., all of the school district in the City of Hastings Ward 4; Denmark Township Hall, 14008 90th St. S., all of the school district in Denmark Township; Marshan Township Hall, Highway 61 and 205th Street E., all of the school district in Marshan Township; Ravenna Town Hall, 20425 REd Wing Blvd., all of Ravenna Township; Vermillion City Hall, 105 E., all of the school district in the cities of Vermillion and Rosemount, and Vermillion Township; Miesville City Hall, all of the school district in the city of Miesville, and Douglas and Goodhue townships; and Hampton City Hall, Belmont and Lincoln streets, all of the school district in the cities of Hampton and New Trier, and Hampton Township.

Absentee voting is now open for the election. Voters who will be absent from their precincts on Nov. 5 may request that an absentee ballot be sent to them.

The absentee ballot application is available at the district’s office at the Hastings Middle School, 1000 W. 11th St., and on line at www.hastings.k12. Complete the application and return it to the district’s office.

The application must be signed to be valid and for a ballot to be sent to an individual. People may also absentee vote in person at the District Office any day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, continuing through Monday, Nov. 4. For more information, contact Deanna Werner at 651-480-7002.