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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Education is not a business - it's our foundation

To the editor:

Here is the brass tacks Mills. You are not acting like the state champs I remember...your leadership needs to stand up for these kids and make your school and education the foundation of the community, no matter what the economic times. You can't rewind childhood!

Everyone was a parent to some kid at some can't keep company's and property values and good people when you don't keep up your school....and here's where you are...

There are 340 School Districts in Minnesota. All but 34 are running their schools on levies! The New York Mills District ranks 271 on this list for what they give there school! 271 - that is on the bottom! That means that there are 270 more communities that give more to their kids in programs and safety and education than you! They give more, period! The average levy is $850. Mills is $200.29! That means for a property valued at $100,000 you are paying $40.

40 dollars - Now I ask you home/business owners in these tough economic times that are suffering if you brought it to the tier one of $700 (Because whoever suggested the lame $200 and left us in this situation and placed us on the bottom of this list should have their head examined!) that is a difference of $500 which would make that same $100,000 home/business owner pay a total of $140. Do you think these kids are worth it? Do you think your community is worth it?

I ask you, how many of you could EBay, Craiglist, or rummage sale your widgets or limit your Bud Lights, fishing trips, 4-wheelers, hunting weekends, or Diet Coke and coffee outings for $140 in one year to give our school the funding it needs to stop this insanity of thinking that people can multi-task responsibilities and leave our children at risk, and strip programs and classes and cut teachers and take away the shell of technology that our school is running on now.

Let me end with this number...2011. Your sick figure of $200.29 tax gives Mills kids $7,192. The state average will get $8,204. That means that the Mills kids will get a $1,000 less per kid. For that $1,000 each kid could get their own computer called a NetPad for $250, where they could have Spanish classes, 25,000 free books, flash cards, art lessons, pre-school phonics, plus unlimited thousands of applications free to learn without costing health care, etc. You would have $750 left to manage this investment!

You are losing New York Mills... the technology is here, The kids need it, the kids want more programs, more safety, and better leadership to show us the way. All we need is for you to do is to get to the top of this list! We don't need to pay all this money for more people. We can invest in cutting edge ideas to take Mills to the next level and bring people to our town because. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! At least that's who we were!

These decisions are not tough - Mills is tough! I remember a day when we loved a good tough challenge...We would have rather played Wadena than an easy team! When we played Perham everyone showed up! Your school kids are in tough times - everyone needs to show up! Even you anti-levy people! Call me and I will tell you why these kids need your $140. We are a team and we need you too! So come on Mills call up these school board members and our superintendent and tell them you have $140 (if you own that $100,000 home, imagine if your home is valued at $40,000 what you would pay!) to get to the top of this list! If you have property valued at a million, well then thank you - we need you too! Yes, the kids need you all!

Renters call up your mayor and tell them you want to pay too! Tell him to put a city tax for renters and you want to pay $50! Many cities are doing this, because the kids matter! Give everyone a chance to help!

Stand up to this challenge and set a levy for $700 and be the champions I remember. Lund's and all the people who are suffering need you to invest in Mills now more than ever! Put your hope and future into these kids! Education is not a business it is our foundation - invest in it! now more than ever!

Colleen Donley