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A failed operating levy referendum in 2019, by 193 votes, led to back-to-back budgets cuts that totaled $9 million in Eastern Carver County Schools.

With a reality of future slashing of the budget, meaning the loss of programs, larger class sizes, the District 112 school board went back to the voters in 2021, and they came back with a resounding yes.

By a total of 8,337 votes to 3,737 nays, the $550 per pupil operating levy passed. A 69% to 31% favor.

“Our communities have spoken, and I am grateful for their decision and the opportunities it will afford our learners in the years ahead," Superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams said. "This investment in our students, our staff, and our district will allow us to continue to offer the exceptional education our community expects and deserves."

Roughly 25% of voters turned out in a non-presidential race year. The overall votes was very similar to 2019 where there were 5,478 "yes" votes and 5,671 "no" votes.

"This is a great day for kids," ECCS board vice chair Lisa Anderson said. "For me, it's that the community really stepped up. Parents realized we have a really good district. They said we're not taking our schools for granted. We need to do our part."

Anderson noted that in all four precincts, Chaska, Chanhassen, Victoria, and Carver, "yes" votes topped 60%. She said the almost 70% overall "yes" vote was a "sign of confidence" in the board that they made the right decision.

The district said "approval of the referendum question allows the district to continue its commitment to providing students with access to high quality academics as well as other programming to support student development and success."

Election results are unofficial until they are canvassed by the School Board at its Nov. 10 regular meeting.

"I think we all realize what we had, what we lost, what we're going to get back is so very important to our community and our kids," Anderson said.