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No more primary elections for LP-A

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501

Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

The Lake Park-Audubon School Board decided against holding primary elections at a special meeting Thursday evening in Lake Park.

A primary election used to be required whenever there were more than two people filing for one seat on the School Board.

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But the Minnesota Legislature changed the law this year, and school boards now have the option of whether they will be subject to the primary election system.

The LP-A Board voted unanimously to drop the primary system, with members Rick Ellsworth and Dale Binde absent.

"Historically, LP-A hasn't had a big number of candidates," said Superintendent Dale Hogie, who recommended ending primary elections in LP-A. "Having filing in summer and a primary in September is one more step..."

"It's a lot of extra time and expense for the school (district), without a lot of outcome," added school board member Rick Olson.

"The primary would be right after school started in September," said board chairwoman Vicky Grondahl. "I think the turnout would be very, very low."

All candidates who file will be on the general election ballot in November, with the top vote-getters winning the election.

Filing for those wishing to run for the LP-A School Board will open Aug. 26 and close Sept. 9.

Another state law that changed this year could make it easier for school districts to win voter support for extending excess operating levies.

Over the years, according to material from the Minnesota School Boards Association, "school districts have been frustrated that -- even if the district is simply renewing a levy -- the ominous 'you may be voting for a tax increase' language had to be on the ballot and on notices sent out to people."

That requirement ends this year for districts that are simply renewing a levy.

A new provision allows districts to modify notices to read: "School District A is renewing existing levies at the same amount per pupil as in the previous year." The ballot language is also allowed to read: "You are voting to extend an existing property tax referendum that is scheduled to expire."

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