Voters weigh in on the RPS levy

Voters weigh in on the RPS levy

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(ABC 6 News) – Yes or no? Rochester voters have two weeks to decide their answer for the school districts technology referendum. The district is asking for $10.1 million each year over the next 10 years from taxpayers.

John Whelan is a Rochester taxpayer, and he’s part of a group called “Say no to the Tax Man.” He said he’s voting no on Rochester Public Schools’ multi-million-dollar referendum.

“They are saying it’s a technology referendum and they are admitting that only 30-percent of it is going to technology,” said Whalen.

But according to the district, all of the money will be used on technology. However, it will free up the 7 million the district already spends on tech to be used elsewhere, including keeping class sizes down.

Another group, called “Vote Yes for Tech,” is supporting the referendum. Nick Miller is part of that group and says the money will advance learning for students.

“But I know we also can’t go backwards and just remove all of these technology expenses for the school budget,” said Miller.

Homeowners with houses valued at $300 thousand will have to pay an extra $123 a year. Casey McGregor is voting no. She says that’s too much to ask of families right now.

“We have an opportunity with Minnesota being the 4th most taxed state to just protect our pocketbooks right now,” said McGregor.

Miller’s daughter is in 4th grade. He’s worried about cuts that could be made if the levy doesn’t pass.

“I think that we are on the verge to do real harm if we continue to cut especially having conversations with other people in town who have mentioned class sizes being bigger than we want them to be,” said Miller.

But Whelan says some cuts need to be made.

“I would agree with cuts in social engineering programs and equity base programs that I don’t see solving any problems what’s so ever. I don’t believe in cuts to the classroom and believe in getting money to the classroom,” said Whelan.

The vote yes side also does not want to see cuts to the classroom but doesn’t see another way around it.

“Our funds are limited, and technology is something that is here to stay and will continue to be an expense that is a necessity, not an option for the school system,” said Miller.

Early voting is now open and on election day polls will be open form 7 am to 8 pm.

For more information on voting (Click Here)