Duluth Public School Referendum, what you need to know

Two days from now voters will see two questions on their ballot looking at property tax increases to help support the Duluth Public School district. The Duluth Public School Referendum have a question looking at academic support for students, and investing in technology for education.

Superintendent John Magas said the federal government and the state help with funding, but local tax levies are necessary too. Duluth Public Schools received COVID-19 relief money to help with academic challenges during the pandemic.

“The academic supports are in the form of reading and math interventionist,” Magas said. “The mental health is basically additional counselors and social workers that we’ve been able to hire since the pandemic started with temporary money. But that temporary money is going to be going away. And so we want to make sure we have that funding.”

The question regarding technology is just as essential Superintendent Magas said. Especially since the school district struggled with teaching during the pandemic.

“We actually have significant technology needs in the district. There was a technology referendum in 2018 that would narrowly was defeated by about 1183 votes,” Magas said. “Because of that, when the pandemic started, we didn’t have devices for our children, when the when they needed the most.”

Superintendent Magas said if these referendums fail the school would deal with significant debt.

“If the referendum is not passed, we will be reducing significant number of significant number of positions,” Magas said. “We won’t have the devices for our students anymore, and we will also be looking at about $20 million in cuts over the course of the next five years. When we think about $20 million in reductions that that could be potentially up to 200 people. And so we also want to think about it from that perspective.”

For more information about Future Forward, you can read more here. Also for more information about the Duluth Public School Referendum session you can read more here.