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'Yes' levy voters can put their money where their vote was

Once again, the Perham school officials are picking up the pieces after a failed levy referendum. This time, by only 124 votes.

"The funding issue is not going away," said Superintendent Tamara Uselman at a Perham Area Chamber of Commerce gathering Tuesday morning.

After strategic planning in November and December, the school board will be implementing another round of cuts by March-as much as $500,000 for the next school year.

We've been receiving a variety of comments on our website in the wake of the failed levy. Here's one of them:

Here's a thought... why not ask everyone who voted yes for the levy to donate the money they would have paid in their tax increase to the school? If all the yes voters really don't feel like the school was asking for that much, and/or they can afford the increase... then donate the money freely and see what a difference that makes.

Well, that's not such a bad idea. And it is one that is being promoted by Dave Niesen, Perham city zoning and building inspector. He's writing a check to the 549 Family Foundation, which serves as a separate funding entity for the Perham schools. His check will be equal to the sum he would have paid in property taxes if the levy had been successful.

Why not?

If every "yes" voter donated; and assuming the average property value is about $100,000; it would be $68 per voter, for a total donation of more than $110,000.

This is an appropriate extension of the "More Than Nothing" campaign launched after the 2008 defeat of the levy.

My check's in the mail. How about yours?