Blooming Prairie schools turn to taxpayers for help - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

Blooming Prairie schools turn to taxpayers for help

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BLOOMING PRAIRIE, MN (FOX 47) -- Blooming Prairie schools are just one of many school districts in Minnesota asking for additional funding from taxpayers.

In April 2007, the Blooming Prairie School District passed a $13.95 million bond for building renovations.

Now they are hoping to pass an operational referendum by increasing their per-pupil funding by $350.

Mary Melherek has been teaching for 21 years and knows it takes more money than ever before to educate our children, but without the dollars they can't do that.

"I think to stay strong we need to have the funding."

The Blooming Prairie School District is one of 52 districts across the state with operating referendums. They are asking voters to revoke the current levy of $350 per pupil and increase it to $700 per pupil over the next seven years. Additionally, they are asking for $200 per pupil to enhance the district's academics.

"I think all school districts are having to look at their budgets and are having to make some tough decisions."

Blooming Prairie Superintendent Barry Olson says our economic problems may make it harder to pass, but without changes to the way the state funds our schools, they have no choice but to turn to the taxpayers.

"Back in 2001 the state changed the way they provided money for the schools and they just have not kept up."

Melherek says she wants the best for her students.

"I think you maybe have to look at it as leaving a legacy to future generations."

But unfortunately the schools can't do it alone.

If both pieces to the referendum pass, taxpayers in a typical $150,000 home would see a tax increase of about $220.

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