Prior Lake-Savage Area School District residents rejected a $35 million technology levy request on Tuesday, leaving PLSAS as one of the only neighboring and comparable school districts without a voter-approved technology levy.

Preliminary results from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office show that voters narrowly rejected the referendum with 49.3% voting yes and 50.7% voting no. The unofficial results were 3,496 yes versus 3,602 no — a 106-vote difference.

“I am sorry to report that voters did not approve our request for a technology levy with 49.3% voting yes and 50.7% voting no on the November 2, 2021 ballot,” Superintendent Teri Staloch said in a press release Tuesday night. “Needless to say, we are very disappointed, but determined to look to the future on behalf of our students.”

Voters rejected the request for a $3.5 million technology levy per year for the next 10 years. The technology levy funding would have helped PLSAS maintain and enhance technology learning, safety and support, according to the district.

DIFFICULT DECISIONS AHEAD

Without a dedicated technology levy, district officials say the costs of technology equipment and staff will continue to put pressure on the general operating budget, competing for dollars required for other classroom and school needs.

“The request was not only in response to a range of increasing technology needs for our schools, but also due to increasing financial pressures from inadequate state funding and unfunded mandates,” Staloch said. “Without the funding this levy would have provided, we will have to make difficult decisions about competing priorities for both classroom and technology needs.”

PLSAS School Board Chair Stacey Ruelle said a dedicated funding source would have enhanced technology throughout the district in many areas.

“Having a dedicated source of funding for technology would have meant we would have been able to maintain and enhance technology for learning, safety and support in our schools,” Ruelle said in a press release. “With inadequate state funding, and coming off of two years of budget cuts in our district, we will now have to face some very difficult budget decisions.”

“Regardless of this outcome, we owe huge thanks to everyone who learned about the technology levy request, shared information with others and voted,” Staloch said.

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