A referendum recap

In the February referendum vote, some CFHS students were given a chance to express their voice and exercise their civic duty.


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Voting is an extremely important tool for teens entering the American political landscape.

When we think of the importance of voting what comes to mind? Most people would answer presidential elections, voting for House representatives or electing a mayor. Cannon Falls locals were recently granted the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on a matter greatly impacting the community. On Feb 18, 2022, Cannon Falls residents flocked to the town hall to fill out their ballots for a very important vote. While it was not the type of poll to be broadcasted on national news stations or lead to month-long debates and uncomfortable arguments at family Thanksgiving, its significance was not lost on the inhabitants of Cannon Falls. This particular vote was for two referendums: one addressed technology needs in the district, while the other was for a bond to pay for repairs as well as an addition to the district building. In the end, both of the referendums passed. These referendums will greatly impact the school as well as its students. That is why it’s students it’s important to study the cause of the referendums, the goals it hopes to achieve, and our personal roles in the voting process. So pull out a paper and pen because voting isn’t just for the adults. Forewarning: there will be a quiz at the end.

First, it’s important to look at important statistics. Over the last couple of years, Cannon Falls school has seen a decrease in enrollment. This decrease in enrollment means a reduction in state aid. If we were to create a graph we would find a steep and steady decline, with the trend being the school’s lack of funds. During a meeting on December 20th, the school board approved $455,000 in budget cuts in an attempt to deal with the lack of money. This is where the referendums come in. While the school still had to make $300,00 in budget cuts, the passing of the referendums allowed the school to avoid around $155,000 in budget cuts. This money will then be taken from taxes, and of course, lead to an increase in tax rates. With a decision that will impact the community this much, everyone must have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the matter. Voting is important it allows the citizens to decide what is most important: raised taxes or school budget cuts. This time, Cannon Falls residents chose school budget cuts, so let’s look deeper into what the referendums hope to achieve.

When looking at the referendum, it’s important to understand the vocabulary to better understand some pretty complicated topics. The first referendum is the approval of capital project levy authorization of technology. That sentence alone is enough to confuse people, but with a little research it turns out to not be as complicated as it sounds. Since the referendum successfully passed, it will provide $400,000 per year for 10 years to support technology in the school. This money will then go to support staff and replace student computers. The second referendum is an approval of school bonding funds. This includes a $7.98 million school building bond to update and improve school facilities, like heating and cooling system updates at the high school and middle school, additions for the school auto and metal shops, and replacing the roof at the Cannon Community center on State Street. These projects are essential for properly maintaining each building, especially considering that some of these areas haven’t seen an update since the 1950s. We can, of course, see how changes in the school can affect the students, but what about the graduating class that won’t see any of these changes? Why would these students care?

The legal age to vote in the United States is 18 years, and some Cannon Falls students have decided to practice their civic duty for the very first time this February. When asked why they personally felt the need to vote, Bianca Caputo, a senior at Cannon Falls Highschool, responded with “I wanted to make an impact and help our school.” Cassidy Maneval and Ali Buck, also seniors, shared similar sentiments, but Ali added on saying she cared because she has a younger sibling enrolled in the Cannon Falls school system. Through all this, one question remains unanswered: Why is voting in small-town elections important? When asked this loaded question, Bianca simply stated that “Every vote can make or break a tie, and local changes are the ones that affect us most.” So why is it so important for young people to vote? Cassidy and Ali echoed each other’s words when they said it’s important to vote “To cause change and have our voices heard.” They also added that they remember Mrs. Loeschke drilling the importance of voting into students during civics class.

At the end of the day, local votes and elections are just as important as those on a Federal or State level. It is so important to stay informed on our local votes and election so that when the time comes we can perform our civic duty. As a citizen of Cannon Falls and America, your vote matters. While it is easy to ignore politics and shrug it off as adult stuff, this referendum directly impacted the school and its students. Maybe one day instead of pulling out a paper and pen to fill out a quiz, we will be filling out a ballot instead.