Dear Country Messenger Editorial Board,

Last spring I was a member of the Forest Lake Area Schools School Funding Task Force, comprised of 20 community members — parents of students and graduates, and community members without children. 

Half of us voted yes on the last referendum, and half voted no or didn’t vote. 

At least one of us had never voted yes for a school issue.

The process was transparent. 

We pored over budgets and finances, spending considerable time examining state funding con

tributions, transportation and operating costs, and employee salaries. 

No question was left unanswered.

Ultimately, we were tasked with deciding what we value as a community for our schools.

After scrutinizing the district’s finances, every committee member recommended the district place a referendum question on the ballot. Recommended increases ranged from $500 to $1,300 per pupil. The Board ultimately settled on $825 per pupil.

What I learned from this involvement is that we NEED to pass the referendum. 

Fiscal responsibility has been repeatedly demonstrated, but the district cannot continue cutting and doing so much with so little. 

The levy is critical to our ability to retain teachers, manage class sizes, and maintain programs. 

I share my opinion here, but list names of other committee members (with permission) to demonstrate the integrity of our process: Ben Monzka, Curt Rebelein, Dan Stark, Debra Schrader, Doug Goerss, Jennifer Braido, Jesse Johnson, John Mickley, Kate Luthner, Luke Odegaard, Kyle Nylander, Kyle Roggenkamp, Karen Morehead, MaryBeth Higgins, Robert Rapheal, Sam Husnik, Steve Wikstrom and Todd Proulx.

Vote YES on the Levy!

John Vette

District Funding Task Force Committee Member 

Forest Lake

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