Open Forum for week of May 15

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.

Worth the Sacrifice

“I promise a chicken in every pot and a car every garage!” 

That snake oil worked for Herbert Hoover in the election of 1928. We got the Great Depression and World War II.

Those that survived these ordeals didn’t become embittered. They embraced the educational needs of their children by voting overwhelmingly to support schools.

Forest Lake has struggled for 30 years to keep up because a small group of “Chicken Littles” has badgered, bullied and belittled our elected leaders. Their war cry should be, “My taxes are so high I can’t get my three cars in my garage full of toys.” 

When greed is the underlying motive for objecting to taxes, you need to create your own facts and objections to plant a pebble in the voters’ eye.

Don’t allow that pebble to become a boulder. 

See if a $15-$50 per month tax increase is going to break your budget. Is there some monthly sacrifice you are willing to make to provide our children with the facilities they need?

It would be 55 cents per day to cover a $200 annual tax increase and $1.37 per day for a $500 annual increase. Are you willing to make the sacrifice?

Corbett Johnson
Forest Lake

Back on the Road

It’s interesting that many in our school district are not getting the importance of the upcoming school bond referendum. 

I read an editorial claiming that the total for this will end up around $340 million. Well, that’s right. Then again, if we would have fixed things that were broken when we should have, that cost would have probably been half of that. 

Anytime we elect to “pay it later” it always costs more money, and school facility improvements are no exception.

Our school facilities are the car in your driveway. When something breaks on the old fliver you have no choice but to fix it.

Staying with this analogy, our school’s radiator leaks, the transmission is shot, the starter doesn’t work, the tires are bald, the engine fires on four of its six cylinders. It’s ready for the scrapyard if we don’t put money in to get it back to road-ready.

This is our school system, and it’s our responsibility to have it safe, functional and fully operational. It’s far from that now. 

A “yes” vote on May 20 will get us back on the road to having a school worthy of our area and functional for all it serves.

Mike Soule

Inadvertent Help

Rumor has it our illustrious mayor may not run for re-election. That is a good thing. He has done enough damage with his mini-roundabout that most seniors, like myself, avoid like the plague.

Then there was his push for the new city hall with no vote from the public.

He may have just inadvertently caused a good thing to happen. The $21 million city hall project raising our property taxes may just bring out the “no” vote for ISD 831’s levy May 20 for $188 million. That would add another $200 tax for a modest home.

I predict that in 10 years, 50 percent of students will get their education online, thereby leaving brick and mortar schools obselete. Sorry to an intractable teachers union, the defender of the status quo.

Our always-creative school board wants the vote May 20 to avoid a November turnout. Vote.

Thomas Lynch
Forest Lake

Pay it Forward

Last December I was asked to help pass the school bond referendum that our community will decide on next Tuesday. I gladly accepted because Forest Lake schools made a real difference in my life.

I attended Forest View Elementary, where Mrs. Alm opened my eyes to the joy of reading and Mr. Sauer showed me that the world is open to endless possibilities. 

At Century Junior High, Mrs. Rupar showed me the value of patience; something every junior high band teacher needs. Mrs. Boettner taught us how to express ourselves and introduced us to great authors.

In high school, Mr. Anderson sparked my interest in business and Mr. Tungseth who showed me what can be accomplished with teamwork.

My teachers helped me love this community, which my wife and I still call home.

Our schools face a crisis. It’s been 16 years since we approved a bond for our buildings, and they have basic needs that must be addressed. From secure entrances to boiler and roof replacement, our schools can no longer wait. 

I want every child to have the same love for our schools that I had. I’m proud to give back. Join me in voting “yes” for our children.

Luke Odegaard
Forest Lake
Chair, Vote Yes for Kids campaign

It’s Their Right

I’m voting “yes” for the bond.

As a mother, I know the value of our schools. As a parent, I know that my child’s safety comes first. As an adult, I know that the only way to solve a problem is to fix it.

We are being asked to spend about 55 cents a day to provide a safe, clean, dependable environment for our children. Frankly I can’t think of any greater value.

We know that putting off hard decisions doesn’t make the problems go away, nor does it make the problems any cheaper. We also know that all of our children need a good education and safe buildings if they are going to succeed in life.

I expect my children to do their best at school. Our children need us to provide them with a school where they can learn and thrive. It’s what our parents and those before them did. It’s what we are being asked to do today. 

So I’m voting “yes” because my children deserve the same gift my parents and their parents gave us: good schools and a great education.

Jill Olson
Lino Lakes

Well Worth It

What happens if we don’t pass the school bond? What if we decide that 55 cents a day is too much to invest in the school buildings? What’s the big deal?

We may get lucky and never have a security issue, so maybe we don’t need the ability to secure our entrances. But what if we don’t?  

We may get lucky and our roofs won’t have any more leaks, or the boilers may hold out for a while longer. But what if they don’t?  

Some would argue that walls in the elementary classrooms or energy-efficient windows are a waste of dollars, that any spending on athletic facilities or music is not the role that schools should play. In fact, we have seen these arguments in this paper the last few weeks. But I know that the best schools are the ones the children are excited to attend.

This bond addresses the need of our children for another generation. If it costs me 55 cents a day, then so be it. It’s well worth it.

Chris Rupar
Forest Lake

Lesson Still Applies

Almost every parent hears their child at one point or another tell them that they didn’t get a good grade because the subject was too hard. Every parent tells their children that they can do it and succeed if they just apply themselves, work hard, and never give up. 

In the end, the parents are right and the children grow up and pass the same lessons down to their children.

Today we are being told that we can’t fix our schools because it’s just too hard. The 55 cents a day it will cost is just too much and hurts too bad and just isn’t worth it. 

Hopefully we realize that fixing our schools can be done, that the cost is not too much, and our community will grow and pass this lesson on to our children: We will not give up on our schools. 

Please vote “yes” next Tuesday.

Kari Odegaard
Forest Lake

  • Sally Swanson

    Our third vehicle is mainly used by our high school senior to drive to school since he often stays after for many activities he is involved with, and to drive from school to his job. The vehicle is about 13 years old, but in good shape, but has been really due for some big time maintenance. Larger projects than we really wanted to invest since parts alone would be $1,000. As we decided to go for it, and my husband got into the project, we found that the vehicle really was in bad shape and was unsafe to drive. We almost sacrificed our child’s safety for not completing some necessary maintenance. Please don’t sacrifice the children of our school districts safety and well being by voting no.