There are, understandably, passionate voices on both sides of the school district's referendum issue. Unfortunately, many begin with the false assumption that ISD 181 is poorly managed or wasteful. In reality, the Brainerd School District has made exhaustive efforts to cut waste and bureaucracy and is one of only 10 Minnesota school districts recognized by Standard & Poor's for outstanding financial management. Yet the district's efforts have not been enough to keep up with the rapidly decreasing state funding of education. In the last decade, Minnesota has dropped from 12th to 40th in state spending per pupil, most of this decline occurring in the last four years. And so the responsibility falls to this community to pick up the slack in education funding. The money raised through a proposed levy would go toward operating costs - keeping class sizes at a reasonable level, paying the woefully low salaries of teachers, and turning the lights on in the morning and the heat on in the winter - not the wholly separate building fund as some incorrectly assume. And with a projected average impact of around 8-13 additional dollars per month to currently declining property tax levels, the price to save our community's schools should be affordable to all. BHS is one of only six Minnesota schools nationally recognized as a Blue Ribbon School and has been ranked in the top 5 percent of all high schools in the nation for the past five years. And for the cost of a bucket of chicken a month, we can save a tradition this community can and should be proud of: a tradition of offering great opportunities and the best education to produce this state's finest students.
County should inspect sewers
The paper ran a recent guest editorial on the need for the Crow Wing County Sewer Management Council. I can't help but wonder how misdirected this notion is.
This sort of inspection maybe necessary but not by a group of volunteers, with a board larger than our county board. They have no compliance authority, no standard for inspecting and are not welcome in most organized communities within Crow Wing County. They are the only council like this in the state of Minnesota. There must be a reason for that?
This sort of inspection process should be administered by the county, with county employees, using funds from the county budget. If there is to be inspection fees, federal grant money and special assessments let the county do the work, not a group of well-intentioned volunteers with no direction/supervision from county officials.
Personally, I think groups like this tend to create an agenda, over time, that is very expensive and not to the letter of their original mission statement.
I am sure the commission is well intentioned but it is already obvious that many in Crow Wing County have told this commission they are not needed or welcome. Let the departments within Crow Wing County government do their jobs. I would suggest, these persons' time would be better spent lobbying for state and federal moneys for the county to do this job.
Education solutions are needed
Am I missing something? A recent Dispatch contained the results of the MCA II test results for area schools. One of the best results for 11th graders was 71 percent who are not proficient in math at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley to 100 percent who are not proficient at Little Falls Continuing Education and Pine River Area Learning Center. Is this telling me that nearly three-fourths to all area high school juniors cannot pass a standardized math test?
If I were a school board member, some principals had better be standing before me with some very good solutions.
Fort Meyers, Fla.
Why are crappies in a trout lake?
A few days ago my partner and I drove up to Diamond Lake. We were hungry for trout. After spending 2 1/2 hours on the lake and catching only baby crappies, we gave up and drove to another trout lake, which paid off.
So why DNR are those crappies in a trout lake? Does the Walker DNR have an answer?
Our rewards for 'no new taxes'
This is absurd, to read in the Brainerd Dispatch about the bridges that are rated, "structurally deficient" and/or "functionally obsolete" in the following counties, Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs and Morrison! According to the Webster Dictionary the word deficient means, "Incomplete defective," the word obsolete means, "No longer in use," also, "Out of date!" These reports came from our MinnesotaTransportation Secretary Molnau! These inspections according to the bridge age are far and few between! Is this what our rewards are for ultra-conservative Pawlenty Republicanism, and "no new taxes?"
How about a place to rest?
I hope the big box stores will take a tip from older citizens with health problems and install a few comfortable seats along the many pathways we must negotiate when shopping. The Westgate Mall has installed some nice couches and I took advantage of one of them the other day. I am hoping the possible new Penney's will do this. Wal-Mart has a few rest benches but could do better. The other big stores need to begin this out of concern for our elderly health-challenged. Many of us have heart and breathing difficulties and avoid the big stores to shop the smaller more convenient stores or have migrated to the Internet and have delivery direct to the residence. This goes for the huge grocery stores also. Thanks for listening.
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