OUR OPINION: SCHOOLS
The success of the Tuesday’s Pequot Lakes School District’s $33.175 million bond referendum — and the margin of victory — surprised many people. In particular, it surprised members of this editorial board who urged voters to support the measure. Editorial support from the Brainerd Dispatch can sometimes be the kiss of death for projects but we’re glad that wasn’t the case in Pequot Lakes.
These are tough times and the people of the Pequot Lakes School District face the same economic challenges the rest of us do. In June, the same referendum was defeated 1,087-822. We can only speculate what brought about the change in the voting public’s mind.
It seems voters are more receptive to pleas for the physical and space needs for students. When the money is used to repair roofs and replace broken boilers, people can relate to times when they’ve had to bite the bullet and invest money to maintain their homes or cars.
Another reason for this week’s 442-vote margin of victory for the school referendum could probably be attributed to increased turnout. Credit for much of that has to go to the active supporters of the referendum who worked hard to increase awareness of the election. Many letters in support of the referendum were written to the Brainerd Dispatch and the Lake Country Echo. That type of support doesn’t always translate into success at the polls, but it did in this case. School bond supporters went the extra mile to make sure everyone knew Tuesday was an election day. They stood out in frigid temperatures with signs alerting those would-be voters who might have let the referendum slip off their radar.
Pequot Lakes School District voters decided to make an investment in their community and children who attend the district schools as well as employers who rely on a well-educated work force will benefit in the years to come.