GUEST COLUMN: A sacrifice worth making
Who are we? We are parents, community members, business owners, senior citizens, neighbors, and taxpayers just like you. We are strongly committed to supporting the future of our children and the communities served by Brainerd Public Schools. We are the members of the Vote Yes Yes 4 Kids Steering Committee.
On Nov. 8, you have an opportunity to shape the future of our community by joining us in voting Yes Yes for Brainerd Public Schools’ operating levy referendum.
We all wish that more funding for our schools wasn’t necessary. But the reality is that Minnesota’s current education funding model is broken. It relies on regressive property taxes and funding delays resulting in financial instability for most school districts in our state. This broken model has caused 90 percent of school districts in Minnesota to ask their community members for local operating levies. Districts seeking levies this fall are asking an average of $702 per student.
Brainerd Public Schools is seeking a total of $399 per student ($199 renew plus $200 new). The amount you will pay depends on the taxable value of your property. For the average home in our school district ($144,300), it is $4.68 per month or about $56 per year. In these challenging economic times, we realize that even $4.68 a month may be a lot to some people. But as citizens, stewards, thinkers, and leaders, Brainerd High School graduates bring their education and experience to bear in all aspects of their work, community, and lives. We believe this investment in their futures is a sacrifice worth making.
Strong schools reflect a community’s commitment to the next generation. We must ensure that our community’s future generations are educated for tomorrow’s jobs. This is our commitment to our community and, above all, a promise we make to our younger generations who must use their education for the real demands of the world, whether for work or community service.
We strongly believe a healthy community depends on a healthy school system. Quality schools have a positive impact on business development, community partnerships, and the property values of existing homes. In short, our schools are the very soul of our community and we must feed that soul to be healthy.
The next generation has little say in our choices today that affect them directly. Similarly, as we age and the next generation takes the reins, their choices will affect us. What kind of choices will they make based on us as their role models? On Nov. 8, you have an opportunity to make the choices that will positively impact our children and the next generation.
A successful operating levy effort will enable Brainerd Public Schools to continue to offer innovative programs and services that better prepare our children to compete for jobs in a global economy. Our students continue to achieve impressive results, and this is at risk if we don’t support the levy.
Our call of duty to each of you, as community members, is to take the time to ask questions and make sure you are informed about this important issue. Go to Brainerd Public Schools’ website at www.brainerdlevyinfo.org. Read the information that has been sent to your home. Call school district officials directly. And if you want to join us in this effort, go to www.voteyesyes4kids.com or “Like us” at Vote Yes Yes 4 Kids on Facebook.
Our lake area’s best hope for the future rests on the promises we make to our children today. On behalf of the Vote Yes Yes 4 Kids Steering Committee and all of our volunteers, we ask you to vote Yes Yes on Nov. 8.
RANDY KLINGER is chief executive officer of the Brainerd Family YMCA. MIRANDA ANDERSON is Essentia Health marketing director. They serve as co-chairs of the Vote Yes Yes Citizens’ Committee.