Residents in the three area school districts went to the polls Tuesday to elect school board members or vote “yes” or “no” in a levy referendum.

The St. Peter School Board will have two new members while the makeup of the Waseca School Board will not change.

A Blue Earth Area School District funding request was narrowly rejected.

St. Peter School Board

Two incumbents were re-elected and two newcomers are joining the St. Peter School Board.

Ten candidates ran for four open seats on the board.

Ben Leonard and Tim Lokensgard won their re-election bids, with 1,015 and 847 votes, respectively.

Bill Soderlund and Tracy Stuewe were chosen to replace retiring members Bob Meeks and Mark Karlsrud. Soderlund received 911 votes and Stuewe received 868 votes.

The other candidates and their vote totals were: Bill Kautt: 769; Julie Carlblom: 719; Mohamed Abdulkadir: 650; Molly Wendroth: 539; Andrew Vander Linden: 363; and Bernadette Volk: 321.

Waseca School Board

Aaron Skogen and Edita Mansfield were elected to continue on the Waseca School Board.

They were appointed to the board in March to fill open seats through the end of the year. They were chosen to replace Randy Zimmerman and Koni Hudak, who both resigned mid-term.

Skogen was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s election with 392 votes. Mansfield came in a close second with 380 votes.

Zimmerman mounted a write-in campaign shortly before the election seeking to return to his seat. There were 253 write-in votes.

Chris Mitchell was the only newcomer in the race. He received 309 votes.

Blue Earth referendum

The Blue Earth Area School District was among 43 Minnesota districts that requested a property tax increase Tuesday to support school operations.

The referendum for the district of a little over 1,000 students in Faribault County failed with 721 votes in favor and 756 in opposition.

The district asked voters to increase local funding by $900 per pupil the first year, followed by inflationary increases each of the following nine years.

School taxes on a $200,000 property would have increased by $379 next year, the district estimated. It would not have increased taxes on agricultural land.

The new levy would have generated around $900,000 in additional annual revenue, which Supt. Mandy Fletcher previously told The Free Press was needed to avoid further budget cuts.

The district made $425,000 in spending cuts this school year.

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