I graduated from St. Paul Humboldt High School in 1961. Humboldt, a tiny school first occupied in 1889, was definitely at the far end of the St. Paul School District gratuity pipeline.
There had been few changes in 72 years. Humboldt students survived our educational experience with an ancient heating plant and asbestos-insulated open duct work (pre-national Corning Company settlement). The Humboldt gymnasium and playing fields were laughable, even in 1961, yet they consistently produced scrappy, quick-witted, good athletes.
The lofting of Sputnik finally brought Humboldt a new science and technology addition, but for most of my four years there, Charles Darwin would have settled in nicely in Humboldt’s biology and chemistry rooms. Teachers made the difference for us.
In 1961 Humboldt said goodbye to quite a few brilliant students from the smallest graduating class in the St. Paul district. They went on to do just fine at universities and colleges across the U.S. Those who didn’t get gobbled up by Vietnam had the skills necessary to be productive citizens. I went on the University of Minnesota and learned my lessons in several 100-year-old buildings, cursing fate when I had to cross the wide-open Washington Avenue bridge getting to the brand-new West Bank buildings – always in January.
If you’re wondering what my point is, it’s this: Wishes and bond requests have gotten excessively out of hand, folks. Be careful what you wish for, and focus on the student-to-citizen paradigm.
Yes, I’m a senior who likes to hang on to her pension pennies. When tomorrow comes too soon, you will, too. Yes, I understand the need for district students to be safely molded into competent, competitive, contributing adults – the Three Cs. How much of the bond referendum would actually have contributed to those Three Cs?
In the meantime, I still need to pay my property tax, and your inconsequential $200 per year additional tax was not a standalone. It was piggybacked on an already rather large yearly sum. It would have gone on forever for me, my “forever” being somewhat limited (see high school graduation date).
Your bond referendum went robustly beyond your own task force’s recommendation. Greed is good? I can’t indulge in it; Why should 831 be able to? Largest bond request in state history?
And there was the regrettable timing for acquisition of the failed FLAAA Sports Center, plus talk of expensive upgrades for a junior hockey team that had nothing to do with graduating competent, competitive, contributing students. No question that the district was legally able to do it without taxpayer consent, but surely Board members must have seen the potential for bad publicity and angry reaction, especially among the ancient, embarrassingly selfish no-voters who really do comprehend that what you take out of one district pocket will be refreshed by infusions in the other district pocket.
I’m sure some are wondering: Out of nostalgia, and against my more logical instincts, I voted yes. As to a future bond referendum, we’ll see. I’m running low on nostalgia.
–The writer is a resident of Wyoming.