To the editor:
On Nov. 6, residents of School District #88 will vote on the referendum to add much-needed revenue to save critical programs in our school system. As a retired owner of a real estate brokerage company and being involved in land development for 35 years, I no longer have children in the public school system. However, I do know how critical a strong school system is for the health of a community. "Location, location, location." Even the folks who aren't in the business of real estate have probably heard this phrase which emphasizes an important consideration for people buying property - "location." Businesses and industries in the New Ulm area are constantly trying to retain and recruit quality employees and management. When people consider staying or moving to a community they consider location and their quality of life. That includes the quality of the school system.
District #88 voters will determine the future of their schools/community as they consider the proposed referendum to help make up for inadequate state funding. Many people will vote "yes" for the sake of their children and quality education. Others will be concerned about the increase in property taxes. That concern is certainly legitimate, but the ramifications of not adequately funding an educational system are also frightening. A significant economic consideration is the "cost" of not maintaining a quality educational system. As a community becomes less attractive to individuals because the school system is not providing opportunities such as speech, student council, sports programs or other programming and class sizes grow to unreasonable sizes, demand for housing will inevitably go down and home values will decline.
If New Ulm schools cannot provide reasonable programming, the city will become a much less attractive place to live. Over time, that could result in fewer taxpayers to help share in the cost of maintaining needed city services. On the other hand, providing quality educational opportunities will become an asset which will help retain and attract new families, businesses and industry.
The school board must be a good steward of the funds made available by the taxpayers, but, knowing how careful the administration and board has been in the past, I feel comfortable in saying the school board has been doing "more with less" for many years. Now is the time we must do this for the kids! I am voting "Yes" on Nov. 6 and hope you will do the same.