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GUEST COLUMN: Investing in our future

I don’t know about you, but fall is the most enjoyable time of the year for me, especially here in the lakes area. Nothing beats a crisp, sunny fall day with the changing of colors on our trees and football at Don Adamson Field. For many of you, running through the trails at the arboretum is what makes the fall days special. It really is all about one’s quality of life. Activities, athletics, arts and education help to round us out and give each one of us a reason to look forward to our futures. I can’t tell you what makes your quality of life best, we have different interests and aspirations, so I would be presumptuous to even try. It’s OK to have different goals, to enjoy different activities and to interact with each other in our own way, but having said that, some quality of life drivers remain constant for each of us. I believe at the forefront is the enhanced quality of life we get from education.

From early childhood classes that work with our babies and toddlers and preschoolers to the elementary schools that help shape and nurture young minds as they progress on to our middle school. What a change our children experience during those extremely impressionable middle school grades. They enter middle school as a little boy or girl and exit as a maturing teenager trying to figure out what their world is all about. Then it’s off to high school, first south campus then the “Big” school, Brainerd High. Now our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and neighborhood friends really are trying to make their mark. Once they don their graduating cap and gown everything we have invested in them throughout their years of education will come front and center. Knowing that makes it very clear how important their education is and what it means to our community that we produce well-rounded, well-educated young men and women.

On Nov. 8, we have an opportunity to say yes to maintain a high standard of education in our community. To maintain one of those quality of life programs that is constant and necessary in our lives. It is not overstating it to say that most of the young people who graduate from Brainerd High School will either now or sometime in the future be our “community”. They will be the ones who open businesses, work for local businesses, raise families, attend our churches, volunteer at our charities and live as our neighbors. Quite frankly, who we are as a community can be directly tied to how we raise and educate our kids. I can’t raise your kids, but I can make sure we are providing them with the highest standard of education possible.

By voting yes-yes on the Nov. 8 ballot it will be the next step in the long journey we are taking in producing young men and women who are ready for the challenges of life. It’s not just the money that will aid in this journey, but just like any other entity trying to stay relevant, increasing revenues is very important to maintain what we have and to be able to move forward. By investing in our schools we will help give our district a renewed sense of community and hopefulness that the future of our children will be as good as it was for us.

I do understand the importance of being fiscally sound, of making sure we don’t overspend, but we should never put the education of our kids, grandkids and neighbors at risk because we aren’t willing to put our own resources towards their future. Please vote yes-yes on Nov. 8. The young people of ISD 181 will appreciate it, the community as a whole will appreciate it.

THOMAS HOFIUS is executive director of the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation, an independent, nonprofit 501 (c) 3.