Nate McClellan, Sartell
Should I vote YES and give more money to Sartell schools? In the 20 years I’ve lived here, the district has scored much higher on both reading and math achievement and the yearly progress scores have outpaced state averages. Sartell’s four-year graduation rate of 98.19 percent places Sartell High School in the state’s top 5 percent for graduation rates. Clearly the district has performed.
I’ve heard arguments that the new High School is “too excessive and unnecessary….the district is wasting money….I never grew up with a school like that and I turned out fine.” Well, I didn’t grow up with a school like the new Sartell High School either. However, my school was better than my parents’ and theirs was better than the farm school house of my grandparents’. Schools evolve – thank goodness! The technology and “excess” some have complained about allow our children to dream differently. Many of tomorrow’s jobs haven’t been invented yet. The skills our children learn and how they apply them needs to change and help those dreams become reachable.
I also don’t believe the district planned poorly or spent unwisely. To date, Sartell schools have provided excellent programming and performance despite ranking 324 out of 330 for Minnesota school districts in overall school funding per pupil. Even if the levy passes, our district would still be below the state average by 15 percent. I wonder what the community’s view of the school would be if our performance was below average or ranked as low as 324 out of 330? Let’s not find out.
Will a YES vote benefit those without school children? According to the National Bureau of Economic Research there is a definite correlation between school expenditures and home values in any given neighborhood. For every dollar spent on public schools, home values increased by $20. These findings indicate that additional school expenditures may benefit everyone in the community, whether or not residents have children in school. These home values increase even more considerably if the district is made up of high-performing schools.
Please vote YES, I will.