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GUEST COLUMN:‘Underwater basket weaving’

I feel compelled to respond to the guest column by John Ward.

To begin I must compliment the Brainerd School District for operating budget control. It’s 10-year increases have been less than most school districts. On the other hand, the spending control for new building construction gets a grade F. Most of the credit for the grade F goes to the school board and its apparent refusal to hold the building architectural firm’s feet to the fire. One way or another the excess building expense is paid by our taxpayers.

Over the past 10 years the general fund expenses have increased 11.5 percent. The student population has decreased from 7,239 students to our current population of 6,405. That is a decrease of 11.5 percent. Why do some uninformed turkeys claim we will have overcrowding in class rooms and teacher layoffs if the new additional referendum is not approved? Most of the school funding problems can be placed right on the teacher’s union. We lost $200,000 of state funding because the union was demanding unreasonable increases at a time of record unemployment in our county. A competent outside board should review the additions of new courses over the past 10 years. “underwater basket weaving courses” should be eliminated.

The students have only so many productive hours to learn. We should not allow useless courses to detract from the productive time of students.

We should allow a local newspaper reporter at all contract negotiations in the future. It is wrong to hide these negotiations behind closed doors.

Mr. Ward, will you go after the teachers’ union to recover half the loss of state aid ($200,000) for the Brainerd School District? Also, will you report how much of the teacher’s union dues are collected from our teachers each year and how much of that money goes to finance liberal candidates. Mr. Ward, your action for this may prove to many of my friends that you aren’t a pimp for the teachers’ union.

ROBERT OLSON is a resident of Ideal Township in Crow Wing County.