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‘Option B’ is Lynd is a non-starter

September 13, 2011
Marshall Independent

To the editor:

Voters have spoken in the Lynd school district, overwhelmingly rejecting an unaffordable new school building. Logically most also oppose other solutions to Lynd's building problems that would raise Lynd's taxes above norms in surrounding districts.

Superintendent Bruce Houck's comments to this paper following the vote reflected this when he stated that the Lynd board would proceed slowly with repairs using general fund dollars instead of a one-time push for an "Option B" $3.7 million tax increase spread over five years. In contrast, your Sept. 1 editorial implies that residents should basically bite the bullet for "Option B." "Option B" is a no-vote-required poison pill for building improvements which would cost taxpayers 90 percent as much annually over five years as the rejected bond issue. It is an absolute non-starter.

Your premise that Lynd has educationally sound programs and a committed staff is not in dispute. That was also true in Balaton, a larger town than Lynd with a greater sense of self-identity. Balaton's school closed because, as in Lynd over time, increasing numbers of local parents were sending their parents to school outside the district, choosing good school programs elsewhere as a better or more convenient fit for their children. The cost of educating the remaining children whose parents preferred the smaller school environment in Balaton became prohibitive due to dwindling numbers, and the school closed.

Lynd may meet the same end unless some way is found to spread large building improvement costs over a wide base than the small but diverse Lynd school district. It's likely that hard support to pay extra for continuing a school in Lynd among district residents is at least as thin as it was in Balaton when they joined the Tracy district. Most Lynd district residents already have stronger ties to adjoining schools including Marshall, Minneota and RTR than they have to the Lynd school.

I don't think there are any "failed schools" in this part of Minnesota; but there are differences between schools. Larger schools can offer full educational programs at lower costs than a Lynd or Balaton and still maintain reasonable class sizes. They don't have to combine grades. They have a critical mass of students large enough for program differentiation. The smaller schools can provide optimal individual attention for each student and a real sense of belonging. Both models have strengths and weaknesses; but finances always have to be considered.

Tom Runholt

Marshall

 
 

 

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