Kudos to voters, school leaders

/ 5 April 2012 / jennifer

East Otter Tail Focus Editorial, April 5, 2012 –

Nobody likes higher taxes.

That’s why it really makes a statement when people choose to pay more. It says a lot about what people care about, what they’re willing to support.

The voters of the Perham-Dent School District made a statement on Tuesday. By approving the Capital Projects Levy, they let it be known that they care about education. That they want to support their schools, students and teachers.

What a relief.

After four previous failed levy attempts, inevitably followed by sometimes painful budget cuts and reductions, the school district needed this.

Buildings are in need of repair, technology is outdated, and the morale of the district could use a boost – the levy should solve this.

While still just a ‘band-aid’ and not a long-term budget fix, funds from the levy will help keep the schools and grounds looking good for at least five more years. It will also help prepare students for the future by getting the latest technology, including iPads, into their hands.

Kudos to voters for getting behind education.

Kudos also to the school district for getting behind voters.

Superintendent Mitch Anderson, the school board and other school leaders really listened to voters this time around, coming up with a fresh game plan that directly responded to the public’s requests.

Voters said they wanted to pay a lesser amount out of pocket – this levy asks for less money, then spreads it out over a larger tax base.

Voters said they wanted to know exactly where the money would go – the school district provided a specific breakdown.

Voters said they wanted everyone who benefits from the area’s healthy economy to contribute to school success – all property owners in the district will fund this levy.

Voters said they wanted more transparency in the process – school leaders held public town hall-style meetings, sent out informational flyers and regularly shared their message through local media outlets.

In the end, after five years, it was this cooperative community effort that got the job done.

This editorial represents the opinions of the East Otter Tail Focus editorial staff.