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Large majority of Minnesota school-funding votes pass

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Minnesota school districts seeking operating levies had their best night in more than a decade Tuesday, with 90 of 114 such measures passing, the Minnesota School Board Association said.

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That's a 79 percent success rate - the highest since 1997, when 86 percent of levies passed.

It was an especially fruitful election for districts seeking to renew their levies, with 57 of 58 levies up for renewal winning passage. Only ROCORI Public Schools near St. Cloud failed to pass a renewal.

Success didn't come as readily for districts seeking to levy new or additional funds, though those measures passed in 59 percent of districts that sought them.

In Northwestern Minnesota, Pelican Rapids and Crookston both passed levies for new money, while Perham-Dent and Battle Lake both fell short.

The timing of the levies came under fire from some Republican lawmakers earlier this month, who said off-year elections cost more and are more likely to pass because of lower voter turnout. Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington said he'll push for a bill that would allow levy referendums only in general election years.

But the school board association said odd-year elections are more transparent because voters can spend more time focusing on the ballot question. It said local communities stepped in to fill budget gaps left by lagging state funding.

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