CROSBY -- Voters hit the polls starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, to cast their votes to decide the Crosby-Ironton School District referendum.

As of about 9:30 a.m., 107 voters cast their ballots at Crosby City Hall, one of four polling places.

Head Election Judge Maxine Fisher said turnout was pretty steady up until that point.

“We’ve been kept pretty busy and such,” she said. “It’s been nice, not big groups coming in but a little bit at a time.”

About a dozen district residents who spoke with the Brainerd Dispatch after securing their “I voted” stickers said they were all for the $29.56 million referendum, which requested funds to update facilities at both Crosby-Ironton High School and Cuyuna Range Elementary School.

Lifelong Crosby residents Cinde and Rudy Tomson had their grandchildren in mind as they voted.

“We need to keep this school going. We need to keep it going strong, and we need the facilities and everything to make it work,” Cinde Tomson said. “... I’ve got grandkids in there, and I want them to have the right resources. And if this is going to help, I’m all for it.”

“Amen,” Rudy Tomson added.

Rudy Tomson fills out his ballot as voters take to the polls to determine the outcome of the Crosby-Ironton School District referendum Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Crosby City Hall. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch.
Rudy Tomson fills out his ballot as voters take to the polls to determine the outcome of the Crosby-Ironton School District referendum Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Crosby City Hall. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch.

For Deerwood resident Jill Mattson, a parent of C-I graduates, the decision was a “no-brainer.”

“I think it totally needs to be passed,” Mattson said. “It’s the future of our country. It’s the future of our community. We need to be supporting our community, and this is a simple way we can do it.”

Kristen Ball, a mom of students in both elementary and high school, said she is excited about the proposed changes and believes they need to happen.

Ironton resident Andrew Hook praised those in leadership positions at the school district and, like others, noted the importance of planning for future generations.

“We need to give our children what they deserve, which is a good future. And to get that, they need to have a good education,” Hook said.

As of about 9:30 a.m., 107 voters cast their ballots at Crosby City Hall, one of four polling places. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
As of about 9:30 a.m., 107 voters cast their ballots at Crosby City Hall, one of four polling places. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

With portions of C-I High School dating back to the 1930s, ‘50s, ‘70s and ‘80s, Crosby resident Kelly Kovatovich noted the sooner maintenance issues are taken care of, the better.

“It’s way, way cheaper and better to keep up (with maintenance),” he said.

“And the kids deserve it,” Kovatovich added.

Barb Grove agreed, adding a message for those who might have a hard time thinking back to their own school days.

“Those who have been out of school for a long time should remember that we want the best and the brightest coming out of our schools,” Grove said. “We deserve it, and they deserve it.”

But for first-time voter Jace Lundgren, remembering his school days is pretty easy, as he graduated from C-I High School last year.

“I think that it is a good idea and that there’s really no downsides to it, honestly,” Lundgren said of the referendum, noting it felt pretty good to cast a ballot for the first time.

“It’s a fulfilling experience that I feel like everyone should do and get involved with.”

Polls are open until 8 p.m. Tuesday evening. Polling places are Crosby City Hall, Deerwood Town Hall, Emily City Hall and Mission Town Hall. Residents can find their polling place at https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/