ISD 181 Viewpoint: Make your voice heard on April 10

ISD 181 Viewpoint: Make your voice heard on April 10
Posted on 04/08/2018
This is the image for the news article titled ISD 181 Viewpoint: Make your voice heard on April 10Election Day is just a few days away. On Tuesday, April 10, our community will decide whether we make investments in schools throughout the Brainerd Public Schools district. The plan residents are voting on is a thoughtful and cost-effective one. It improves student safety and school security, transforms our neighborhood elementaries, brings grades 9-12 together under one roof, upgrades alternative education space and provides a needed hub for early childhood education.

As a member of the Board of Education, I've been asked how the plan will make our schools more safe and secure. I've heard from young parents excited that the plan would address long waitlists for early childhood education classes. I've talked with community members who agree now is the time to bring all high school classes under one roof to control access to the building and make teaching and learning more efficient. I've heard from local business leaders about how important it is to have the right space to teach kids skills they will need for the world and the workforce—and how important good schools are to attracting and keeping good employees.

I've been able to confidently say the plan addresses all of these concerns—and other essential needs—while being cost conscious.

Thank you to the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce and the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation, and many, many community members for investing their time, providing vital input and for their strong support.

Voters will see the plan as three questions on the ballot. The first question addresses elementary and early childhood education, the second addresses secondary and alternative education, the third enhances the auditorium included in question two into a performing art center. If all three questions are approved, the tax impact for the owner of a home in the district with the median value of $156,200 would be $7 per month over the next 25 years.

The plan was developed through three years of community input. That input included teacher, staff and community listening sessions, presentations to more than 100 local business and community groups, phone and internet surveys of nearly 1,800 residents and countless calls and face-to-face conversations with individual residents by district staff and Board of Education members.

There's a reason why the plan has the support of area business leaders, parents and teachers. This plan addresses the concerns of the community and prepares us for the future while being financially prudent. If we make these investments today, we won't be faced with fixing issues again and again over the coming years in a piecemeal fashion that would likely end up costing more.

This plan is an investment in the future of the Brainerd Lakes area. We can have the safe, secure, efficient and educationally effective schools we need to help students find success in education and in life. The realization of this plan will help our community continue to attract businesses and young families, build a larger and more diverse tax-base, and remain one of the best places to live and raise a family.

These are your schools, so make sure your voice is heard on April 10th.

INFOBOX:

Early voting is available on Monday, April 9 from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. at the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse in Brainerd. On Tuesday, April 10, polls will be open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. There are 15 polling locations in the school district. You can find your polling location, see the ballot questions and learn more about the school facilities plan at www.blueprint181.org
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