Open Forum for week of May 8

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 [email protected] 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.

A Matter of Trust

How can I trust the school board when they misrepresent facts of the bond issue? They advertise $176 million, but put $188.2 million on the ballot. They don’t mention additional interest of over $169 million or over $10 million to refinance existing bonds.

The total cost to taxpayers will be nearly $358 million. That’s over one-third of a billion dollars, folks, nearly $7,700 for every resident and nearly $54,000 per student. Is your family on board with this for 30 years?

The board doesn’t mention that if the bond issue is defeated, beginning in 2020 and for a $200,000 property, taxes will go down $200 per year.

They won’t tell us the real cost. Beginning in 2020, it will be about $450 ramping up to over $500 per year, not the $200 they say. Check the chart on the district’s website for your initial cost.

Education will not be delivered in the traditional way 10 years from now, much less 30. Technology is already transforming education far beyond Smart Boards. Teachers will teach differently, classrooms will be different, and learning will be much more financially efficient.

I won’t drink this board’s Kool-aid, and I won’t vote for their bond issue.

John Freed

A Grateful Student

On behalf of all the students at Lakes International Language Academy, I want to thank all of our amazing teachers.  It is Teacher Appreciation Week, and we have some of the most amazing teachers that we want to recognize.

At LILA, our teachers ask us to be inquirers, thinkers, communicators, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. I see my teachers demonstrating these characteristics every day in school.

Our teachers care about all of us. They help us learn, and help us to become who we want to be.

My classmates and I feel so lucky to go to such an amazing school that is full of supportive, kind and caring teachers. We are so grateful to have you all as our teachers.

Emily May
Forest Lake
Fifth-grade LILA student

Status of Scrap

The dispute that is keeping the city’s compost site closed triggered another question in my mind.

Behind Winnick Supply on 11th Avenue SW there are some huge piles of scrap metal. I do not notice these piles getting any larger or smaller.  The scrap piles sit adjacent to the Hardwood Trail and the new Forest Lake City Center that is under construction.

I see standing water in the middle of these piles. I have no idea if there is a barrier under the scrap piles to block unwanted contamination for leeching into the ground.

Makes me wonder if there are regulations governing storage of scrap. I also wonder if permits are needed and in place at the local, county, state or federal level.

I sent two messages regarding my thoughts above to Winnick using their web site contact page. I did not receive any response. Can someone enlighten me?

Steve Wikstrom
Forest Lake

Bond Not Justifiable

As evaluations and tax rates increase on our homes, voters need to beware. Can you afford the biggest transfer of wealth ever from you to the Forest Lake School District?

City of Forest Lake voters are already paying for a $22 million City Center. The city is also looking at building a community center, together with the YMCA. It is also planning a $3.9 million park, a Public Works building and two signs saying “Welcome to Forest Lake” which will cost $40,000 each.

More and more we are being asked to pay higher taxes. $188 million of levy is over the top, especially with falling enrollment and students opting for other school choices. How can the school board justify that amount?

The district purchased the $3.5 million hockey arena, but did not even fix the high school track and football field. How can we trust the school board to take $188 million and spend it correctly?

I say just vote no for the school levy May 20.

Eugene Huerstel
Forest Lake

  • Golden Eagle

    Everyone wants nice public facilities such as schools, parks, roads, etc, but nobody ever wants to pay for it. And the contractor’s and businesses ultimately required to build and support these facilities for the government are the very businesses that the citizens work for or own and yet that sit and maximize the profit and money that the government will give them as a result for their own good, which is supported and encouraged by each other as simply doing business. How do so many people not see the insanity in all of this? Amazing.

  • Palawan Orphanage

    It really is absurd the amount of money that has been flushed out here lately in such a cavalier manner. The School Board and City Council are inherently deceitful, for one, and they do not have any concern for the long-term ramifications of these costs.

    And how does any of this create incentive for new businesses to want to come to this town? When is that ever going to be a priority? You know, actually making money for the city, instead of spending it….