Alternatives needed for school [UPDATED]Published 10:53am Friday, October 25, 2013 Updated 12:54pm Friday, October 25, 2013
We have a few points that we would like you to consider as you proceed with the business of educating our Rothsay students.
We are in agreement that we want a school available to the families of the Rothsay School District.
We care very much about educating our students right here in Rothsay.
As friends and neighbors we also need to work together to make our community positive and friendly as we welcome others to our town and school.
We also are aware that the landscape has changed with the State of Minnesota in mandating state/district paid all-day kindergarten statewide.
We are also aware that the enrollment increase that was predicted for Rothsay School has not developed.
With an enrollment of 258 at the present and the loss of 15 students in the upper grades, the district will receive less in state aid.
Even with the welcoming of 27 students in the kindergarten class, the cost and loss will have an adverse affect on the operating budget.
If the Rothsay Board of Education needs to come back for an additional operating levy on top of the bond referendum, this would be too excessive for many to handle.
Our school district residents are already paying double to four times in school tax compared to the surrounding school districts.
There are a number of other concerns for our community along with the large increase of property tax on the Ag community.
Since the bond referendum will be paid 82 percent from ag it could very well be the cause many family farmers need to sell their property, and relocate for employment.
Of course this would mean that their families would be leaving our community and school district. We are aware that the property will still be taxed, but it could very well be farmed by someone outside our district, so support for our community will go elsewhere.
How can businesses like the Farmers Elevator remain competitive with area elevators when it will shoulder a large property tax increase for the new school coupled with the possibility of losing customers due to farm sales.
With the large increases in tax even the farmers that will be able to stay with us may very well need to adjust their support for other business and services in the community.
We fear that the churches, partners, Summer Recreation, Prairie Days, and other non-profits as well as for-profit businesses will come up short on local support.
Already there is unrest with people taking their business out of Rothsay due to the vote on the new school.
All of this is an appeal to the Rothsay Board of Education to slow the process of building and take a wait and see approach to the new facility. Even with a yes vote under your belt, it is just permission, not a mandate, to build.
If a better view of where the School District stands with enrollment and dollars in, versus cost of education, could be assessed the avenue to proceed might be more clear.
Perhaps by next summer there would be a more accurate view of finances.
If the dollars to educate without more taxation are not available then the possibility of keeping the present school and reworking/remodeling could be further researched in earnest and all the dollars spent on the upgrades of the present school would not be lost.