Home Minnesota Educator Educators working to support school board, levy elections see mostly success this fall

Educators working to support school board, levy elections see mostly success this fall

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Local unions who got involved in recommending school board candidates and helping to pass levy referendums saw a majority of success across the state this fall—a major win, especially in many districts who faced well-funded, anti-union candidates.

Local unions of Education Minnesota endorsed 53 school board candidates and 45 of them won, or 85 percent. Union-endorsed slates of candidates swept the open seats in six highly contested suburban districts: Bloomington, Fridley, Minnetonka, Mounds View, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan and Roseville. Union-supported candidates also won special elections in Chisago Lakes, Columbia Heights and Stillwater.

“The national movement to restrict what books students can read, what they can learn about history, and whether they can be their authentic selves in class was on the ballot this year,” said Denise Specht, the president of Education Minnesota in a press release after Election Day, Nov. 7. “Minnesotans rejected it. Instead, they voted for candidates who pledged to offer schools where all students and educators feel welcome and supported.

“There was an unprecedented amount of engagement and funding by state and national anti-union groups in these local elections. I think every educator hopes those groups will look at these results and start putting their money elsewhere so we can get back to focusing on our students and the working conditions in our schools. Clearly, the politics of dog whistles and division has no place in Minnesota’s classrooms.”

Education Minnesota also supported 38 local unions of educators in campaigns to raise revenue through local levy referendums. Of those districts, voters approved at least one question in 60 percent of the locals.

“This was a difficult year to pass levy referendums, especially in Greater Minnesota,” Specht said. “The districts that failed to pass their referendums will face tough decisions about their budgets, which could affect the quality of education their students receive.”

Fifteen percent of Education Minnesota’s Political Action Committee funding goes directly to local elections, a percentage that continues to grow as more and more locals get involved in school board races and levy and bond referendums.

The PAC makes funds available to locals for campaigns. To be eligible, at least 90 percent of a local’s members must be contributing to the PAC. Qualifying locals are eligible to receive between $7 to $8 per member with some matching local funds. All locals, regardless of size, are eligible for a minimum of $850 per fiscal year.

Go to www.educationminnesota.org/advocacy/edmnvotes/local-elections to learn more if your local is planning any referendum or school board elections in the future.

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