A tax increase is probably inevitable in the Pelican Rapids school district–if the voters go along with it.
The board has no authority to hike taxes–without voter approval.
A levy referendum, asking voters to increase operating revenue, was approved about six years ago–but it since expired. It barely passed in the first place, with tax-weary voters opposing levy referendums.
“We’ve been saying for a couple years that a levy referendum is on the horizon,” said Pelican school board chairman Jon Karger.
“People need to be educated on our financial position,” said board member Brenda Olson. “We’re one of the few schools in state that is now operating without a (voter approved) levy,” said Olson.
She also expressed the concern that the school is competing with Rothsay and Perham–both with new school facilities, and both in a better financial condition than Pelican.
Even if a levy vote was initiated today–and passed by the voters at the ballot box–those dollars would not begin flowing until 2021.
If the board decides to launch a levy referendum campaign, it could be a tough task. It took four votes, over several years, before the last levy referendum passed.
“If we go for a levy increase, it will take every single body in the community to hit the ground,” said Superintendent Randi Anderson.