The Pine River-Backus School District has a bond referendum vote coming up May 14, and an informational meeting was held May 7 for people to learn more on the referendum.
While I am generally wary of tax increases, I am writing to encourage people to find out more about this referendum and encourage them to vote in favor of this referendum.
Over the past few weeks I have done a considerable amount of research on this, including looking at the data available on the school district website, the state of Minnesota education site and asking questions of the district.
I do want to acknowledge the efforts of Jolene Bengtson, the district business manager, for her help in answering all my questions. She has been very open and honest with her responses.
I believe that the money is needed and will be well spent on needed improvements for the students.
While I might have allocated more money toward the CTC (technical education) area, overall, I believe the money is needed.
Having said that, I am opposed to the general increase in education spending proposed by the governor. Since the overall state budget has seen increased spending over the years, the students' progress has generally been flat or declined and more money will not solve the problem.
I believe the state needs to be smarter about how the money is being spent.
In my research at the Minnesota Department of Education website, I discovered that if you include all local, federal and state taxes collected in 2018, Minnesota had more than $13 billion in revenue with more than $11 billion of expenses.
The continued increase in funding has not been wildly successful and we need to find a better way to ensure the children are well educated.