Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Nov. 5, 2001

Referendum should dent pocketbooks very little

By Lynda Jensen

Voters in the Lester Prairie School District will fill three school board positions, of which are four-year terms, and answer a referendum question at the polls Tuesday.

If approved, the referendum would raise $65,129 per year for 10 years for the Lester Prairie district.

It will dent property owners' pocketbooks very little, since the state reformulated its tax burden, shifting school district taxes to the state and cutting back property taxes; which will likely result in lower taxes regardless of whether the referendum is passed.

However, Lester Prairie property owners will enjoy a little less tax relief than otherwise expected if they vote in favor of the referendum.

For example, a residential homestead that has a taxable market value of $100,000 - which would normally pay $299 in actual taxes - would expect estimated school district taxes to be $162 per year without the referendum, or $187 if the referendum goes through.

Also as a result of the different tax formula, the 1999 referendum approved by voters will be absorbed by the state, Superintendent Dr. James Redfield said.

Money from the referendum is expected to be used to stabilize the finances of the school district, Redfield said.

"Some of the possible uses of the money could be to increase technology, increase staff development for technology training, for curriculum increases and to enhance learning for students. Also, the board would like to be able to replace some programs and positions if possible," Redfield said.

Write-in votes will

probably play big role

Write-in votes will most likely play a huge role in the election for school board candidates, since only two are running for three open seats.

In the past, write-in votes knocked out all incumbents running for Lester Prairie city council seats.

For this election, incumbents Fred Blaser and Chester Hoernemann filed for the election. Gene Starke chose not to run for re-election.

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