I have no doubt the old naysayers in town will be up to their tired old tricks of misinformation and deceit when it comes to the finances and operations of the Forest Lake Area School District. These myths, thinly disguised as facts, can potentially be quite convincing unless you know the facts. Allow me to shed some light on the claims that are often made by these uninformed individuals:
Myth: The district is not forthcoming with information.
Fact: The district is completely transparent. There is no information not made available to the public, including financial records and yearly audit reports.
Myth: Enrollment is declining, therefore cuts should be made to the budget regardless.
Fact: While enrollment has been declining, the $7.5 million in cuts made over the last several years far exceeds any lost revenue to declining enrollment.
Myth: School taxes continue to increase.
Fact: School-based property taxes have decreased 6 percent last year with an expected decrease of 6 percent next year.
Myth: Our costs for administration are too high.
Fact: Our administrative costs are 15 percent below the state average. We have cut two assistant principals and one principal from administration in the last two years.
A recent School Funding Task Force recommended a levy increase of up to $1,300 per pupil. Being realistic and conservative, the School Board set the levy increase at $825 per pupil.
Please inform yourself with facts regarding the levy vote on Nov. 6, and do not allow deceitful tactics to cloud your judgment.
Luke Odegaard, CPA
Director, Forest Lake Area School Board