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Levy renewal question passes;McGinnis, Cater and Gergen elected to school board

On Tuesday, voters in Hastings School District 200 opted to renew the operating levy of $4.2 million annually for another 10 years by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin.

Of the total of 4,553 votes on the levy questions, 2,622 were in favor, while 1,931 were against renewal.

“On behalf of the school board I want to thank everyone in our community for listening to the facts about the renewal of the operating levy and exercising their right to vote and financially support our students, staff and parents,” said Superintendent Tim Collins. “I believe the vote is a reflection of the confidence that the community has in our staff and the fiscal management of the school district.”

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

Taxes will not go up on homeowners because the levy was renewed. That said, the school’s share of property taxes would have gone down if it had failed.

The levy renewal question passed in every city precinct and Denmark Township: 315-206, Precinct 1; 518-392, Precinct 2; 585-293, Precinct 3; and 550-244, Precinct 4; and in Denmark Township, 178-152. However, it was a different story in Marshan, Vermillion, Ravenna, Miesville and Hampton, where it did not gain voter approval.

In those areas, the levy failed 405-611.

School board race

The incumbents, Angie McGinnis and Dan Cater, and newcomer Scott Gergen were elected to the Hastings School Board Tuesday.

McGinnis led all candidates with 3,005 votes, followed by Cater with 2,366 votes, and Gergen with 1,866 votes. The other two challengers, Herman Fasbender and Russ Rohloff received 1,651 votes and 1,252 votes respectively. There were 166 write-in votes.

“I am so grateful for the levy passage,” said McGinnis. “It shows the community’s commitment to kids and the schools and education.”

She also paid tribute to those who supported her.

“I’m so fortunate that I have people who have supported me and helped me,” she said.

The rather large voter turnout was also a plus, said McGinnis.

“The voter turnout was great,” she said. “People were so good about voting and I’m thankful to the community.”

McGinnis has been a resident of Hastings for 16 years. She and her husband Pete have two children, Thomas and Grace. She is the director of the St. Philip’s Early Learning Center in Hastings. Previously, she was a teacher in the Hastings School District.

Cater, who is currently the board chair, expressed his appreciation to the voters.

“I am really happy and want to thank everyone,” he said. “I’m really thankful the operating levy was renewed – that was the most critical.

“If it had not (been renewed), we would have been talking about cuts,” he said. “As for myself, I am grateful for the support I have received.”

Working within budget constraints while providing student services and programs will continue to be very important and a top priority for the school board, said Cater.

“It will continue to be a challenging time,” said Cater. “It would have been impossible with the failure of the levy.”

Cater is a life-long resident of Hastings. He and his wife Karen have three children, Samantha, Zachary, and Matthew. He is employed at Dakota County as the Information Technology Director.  

Gergen was raised in Hastings and lived here through college. He and his wife Ann have three sons. He is a technology manager with Thomson Reuters, overseeing large-scale software and infrastructure projects spanning the globe.