Weighs in on school spending

To the editor:

We once again are to be subjected to another special school election to try to reverse the results of the first special election. Well, the tactic of just having elections until taxes go up has worked in the past, so why not try it again? In this case, I will certainly vote no, primarily because I do not believe we citizens have been dealt with in a particularly honest or respectful fashion. Not too long ago our school board and administration found that they could spend $30 million-plus for a new middle school. This was irresistible, so, quite deliberately without asking the voters, we have a new middle school being constructed. Before that is even finished, lo and behold, we just have to have our “extra” taxes doubled so we can have enough money in the facilities fund to squeak by. If they could somehow spend $30 million without allowing a vote by the citizens, they can learn to live without doubling our “optional” taxes now. The contention that the middle school “will cost our taxpayers nothing” is rather quaint, since the money apparently comes from the “additional” 1 cent sales tax – for the next 20 years. I presume I can tell the merchants and the governor that the neither I nor anyone else in Fort Dodge really has to pay that penny per dollar, at least if we wouldn’t have voted to approve the new school.

I also would suggest a longstanding priority difficulty, and one which is certainly not a matter entirely within the control of any local school board. I am convinced that there are only two really essential groups in the educational system. The first would be the students, and I have special sympathy for those who want to learn. The second would be the teachers, and I have special sympathy for those who love to teach. Everyone and everything else should exist only to support these two major groups. And yet, what do we see at the end of every school year? The teachers being treated like used Kleenex with a flurry of pink slips. I assure you that, as the years go by, the former students will remember and bless their good teachers. Not so much thought to the building, I would guess.

Larry Handy

Fort Dodge