The Future Forward Referendum will be voted on on May 14th

The Future Forward Referendum will be voted on on May 13th

The Duluth Public School District will be holding their Future Forward Referendum on Tuesday, May 13th which will be decided by the voters to expand their Digital Curriculum.

Back in November, the Duluth Public School district held a referendum on two questions. The first question about expanding digital access did not pass by less than 300 votes. Although voters passed the second ballot question to restructure debt spending. The Future Forward Referendum is asking voters if they are willing to increase property taxes to invest in digital technology.

John Magas, the Superintendent of Duluth Public Schools, says he understands the referendum is a big ask. Voters in November weren’t too excited with increasing taxes, but Magas says the money will fund the future of students.

“We need to really think about the hands-on jobs we have,” Magas said. “We can start training people while they’re in high school so they’re ready for the career force once they graduate.”

Magas also says the focus on this technology investment is to increase graduation rates and student engagement. Although there are still some concerns with the school district’s budget involved with the referendum.

“Even if the referendum passes, however, we will be having budget reductions. We’re reducing our budget this year. And we’ll be reducing next year as well. This will help mitigate some of those costs, but we want to make sure that we have the resources we need to make sure we educate our kids and prepare them for the future.”

Danette Seboe, is the Principal of Career and Technology Education along with Career and College Readiness. She says her program will see future funds if the referendum passes.

“So in our current tech ed programs, our students can try different career pathways. They really focus on helping kids explore them as they get started in the program. And when they start to find things they like, they just keep going.”

The proposed capital project levy authorization will raise approximately $5.2 Million in taxes for the first year. It’s to be levied, and would be authorized for ten years. The estimated total cost of the projects to be funded over that time period is approximately $52 Million. The additional revenue from the proposed capital project levy authorization will provide funds for devices, improved technology, digital infrastructure and training.

The referendum question will ask voters on their sample ballot on Tuesday May 14th, “Shall the capital project levy proposed by the Board of Independent School District No. 709 (Duluth) be approved? ” “Yes or No?”

For more information on where to find your polling location for the Future Forward Referendum you can read more here. Also for other stories with the Duluth Public School District you can read more here.