I’ve sent this out to a couple dozen folks who I’m hoping will want to help circulating a petition:
We, the legal voting residents of Independent School District 709 (Duluth), hereby petition Governor Pawlenty and the Dept of Education to order a referendum of the proposed $293 million bond which is now in the hands of the state for comment and review. These are some of our concerns:
Minnesota law only provides a few modest exceptions for letting school bonds without voter approval. These exceptions include meeting fire and safety codes and making schools handicap accessible.
The Spirit of the law is clearly indicated by statute _____ which specifically gives Minneapolis the authority to bond without voter approval. As no such law grants Duluth a right to bond without voter approval it is obvious that the legislature has never intended to exempt ISD 709 from holding referendum elections.
For a hundred years Duluth voters have had the opportunity to vote on major proposed bond referenda. Until today the largest bond proposed for the Duluth Schools was for $55 million in 1989. This $293 MILLION bond dwarfs that proposal. With interest it could end up costing district taxpayers half-a-billion dollars. This would be a much greater financial burden than Duluth’s $305 million city employee retire health insurance obligation which has raised talk of the City filing for bankruptcy.
One year ago, Governor Pawlenty insisted on a referendum before he would permit Duluth to raise taxes for the DECC expansion project. We plead with the Governor to remain consistent as Duluth voters face what may be the largest school bond in Minnesota History. We have a right to vote!