Bond referendums in rural Minnesota have passed at a higher rate, following the state increasing its support through the Ag2School bond tax credit. During the November 2019 elections, rural voters approved 84 percent of bond referendums, the highest rate in recent history.

“Without the Ag2School credit, this [voter approval] would not have been possible,” said Aaron Cook, Superintendent of Ada Borup that approved its bond Nov. 5.

The Ag2School tax credit increases from 40 percent to 50 percent in 2020 and is scheduled to scale to 70 percent in 2023. This permanent law, initially enacted in 2017 by the Minnesota Legislature, affects all existing Fund 7 debt levies, except OPEB bonds. Ag2School was a signature effort of MREA in partnership with multiple state agriculture organizations in recent legislative sessions.

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Farmers and timber land owners in the school districts highlighted in red on this map see a total state share of greater than $247,000 for bonded debt payments in Pay ‘20.

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  • Reductions for farmers and timber land owners in 296 districts
  • Median reduction of $124,418 per district
  • Largest state share of $987,010 for Morris Area
  • Greatest reduction per $500,000 at $562 in Farmington

Why It’s Needed

More schools seek support for 21st Century learning facilities. Half of the state’s school facilities were built before 1976 and one-quarter are between 54 and 125 years old. Greater Minnesota schools are an average of 10 years older than metro schools.

Ag2School Potential Impact

School districts highlighted in red on the map have the potential to see the greatest impact. Agriculture and timber land accounts for at least 64 percent of their property value.

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Historic Passage Rates

Historically rural voters have approved fewer bond questions than metro voters. That pattern continued leading up to October 2019, as shown in this chart.

School Facility Bond and Capital Levy Referendums
Passed Failed Percent Passed
Rural 13 10 56%
Metro 2 0 100%
Statewide 15 10 60%


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View November 2019 Referendum Results.