Open Forum for week of Jan. 23

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to clint.riese@ecm-inc.com. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.

Be an Informed Voter

Is District 831 back at it?

It wasn’t long ago the  School Board, under the pretense of efficiency and better communication, changed elections to odd-numbered years. Then, as a cost savings, back to the even-numbered years. What were they looking for? The advantage of low voter turnout? Confusion for the voters?

Now it’s their proposed May $173 million referendum. Why May? Because School Board elections are in November. Don’t they want to take ownership?

Minnesota State Statute 126C.17 Subd. 11(a) covering referendum dates states “except for a referendum held under paragraph (b), any referendum under this section held on a day other than the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November must be conducted by mail.”

Paragraph 11(b) must be their strategy. What does this mean?

Subd. 9(b) states “The board must prepare and deliver by first-class mail at least 15 days but no more than 30 days before the day of the referendum to each taxpayer a notice of the referendum and the proposed revenue increase.”

Subd. 11(b) states “the commissioner may grant authority to a district to hold a referendum on a different day if the district is in statutory operating debt and has an approved plan or received an extension from the department to file a plan to eliminate the statutory operating debt.”

Is District 831 in statutory operating debt? Isn’t date-shifting and last-minute information inexcusable?

Be an informed voter. Don’t be in the dark. This is “the big one” that will impact you for years.

Dick Tschida
Forest Lake

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