MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Voters across Minnesota decided in record numbers that their schools needed a financial boost more than they needed a steeper drop in their own property taxes.
By 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Minnesota School Boards Association had gotten word from most of the more than 180 districts that sought increased classroom funding from voters, with 105 levies passing and 53 going down.
The past record for operating levies approved in one year was 72, in 1997.
Bob Meeks, government relations director for the association, called the success rate "outstanding."
"People are willing to dig deeper when they know there's a need," Meeks said. "A two-thirds passage rate will communicate that message to the Legislature."
The referenda -- known as excess levies -- raise money that can go for classroom supplies, teacher salaries and other expenses. Some districts also wanted permission to issue bonds for building projects.
Each of the levy campaigns had its own circumstances, but many were fed by the notion that state funding hasn't been sufficient to keep programs intact and teachers on staff.
With ballot counting stretching late into the night, drawing any conclusions about a statewide theme was difficult. Some education experts warned that it would be a futile task anyway.
"We're only guessing when we try to decide what individual voters are thinking and how that would translate into a mass message," said Christine Jax, Minnesota's education commissioner.
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