On Tuesday, November 1st, the Northfield Public Schools Superintendent, Matthew Hillmann, participated in a tabling event to encourage student awareness of the 2022 Capital Projects Levy Referendum Renewal on the November 8th midterm ballot. Many of us choosing to vote in Rice County tomorrow are unaffected by the renewal; we are neither property owners, nor attend Northfield Public Schools, yet make up a large portion of voters in the county, therefore carrying a heavy weight in its ultimate decision. When asked about balancing the wants and needs of this transitory population with the permanent residents of Northfield, Hillmann explained the relationship of the local schools with the higher education institutions of Northfield.
“When St. Olaf is recruiting people to come to Northfield, to teach students–professors, administrators, and other staff members–they are often looking for a quality school system. This could be for their own children, to make sure that the properties that they purchase hold their value; a quality local school district has a symbiotic relationship with the college. When it's important for the college, it's important for the students. There are a lot of students who vote here locally. We simply want to make sure they are informed about what school district questions are on the ballot.”
Students participating in the “Spin-The-Wheel” trivia answered many questions correctly: “Which age group is least likely to vote?” “What is the average voter turnout for midterm elections?” “How many states allow same day voter registration?” The answers, 18-29 year olds, 40% of voters, and 13 states, respectively, came as no surprise to the informed student population, eager to defend their 2022 Democracy Cup win. However, many were surprised at the knowledge of the Tax Levy Renewal, and unaware of its impact on local educators. “I was really impressed by how many people actually stopped,” Hilmann exclaimed. As he emphasized during the tabling session: Remember to flip that ballot!