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Letter: Cormorant Four are at it again

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Letter: Cormorant Four are at it again
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Last week's letter from the so called Cormorant Four reminded me of the attack ads I've been bombarded with on TV for the last few weeks. Every time another one comes on, I find myself wondering who would believe such nonsense. Yet the "Cormorant Four" think they can bamboozle our district voters just like the sleazy guys who come up with these nasty attack ads. Right off the top they tell the voters they "initiated meetings" with the school board. What happened in fact was some board members held two meetings with these guys because they said they had a "number of high-quality and economic alternatives" that they guaranteed (their exact words) would pass if brought to the people. I understand why some of our board members met with these guys when they make statements like that. I also remember what my Dad told me when I was young about deals that sound too good to be real. Well guess what voters? After the first meeting I asked the board members who had met with the "Cormorant Four" what these great ideas were and they hadn't presented even one idea, just more bad mouthing of our plans. So the board decided to give these guys one more chance to present these "high quality" ideas. Same result, nothing. At this point the board said enough is enough, no more meetings. I personally think all these guys really wanted was a forum to create a negative campaign against our current school board and any action to build a new school for our district.

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Their letter says don't be "deceived" by our latest proposal as it's just the same old one all over again. I would like to say right here that the first bond issue was for $34 million dollars before interest. Total cost would have been over $65 million. The current proposal is for $19.7 million, with interest added $33 million dollars total cost. That is a lot different. With our new proposal a homeowner with a house worth $100K would be paying $162 a year. That comes out to 44 cents a day for a new high school and a remodeled elementary school. You can't even make a phone call on a payphone for that anymore. I think a pack of gum costs more than that. Yet the "Cormorant Four" tell us this is "outrageously expensive." One wonders what would be a good deal to these guys?

I want to point out one important fact to voters at this point. From the start of this building bond issue I have tried to compromise the need for new schools against cost effectiveness for the district. I don't like paying taxes either. So let me say this current proposal is as cheap as this project is ever going to get. If we don't move now and the current national economic situation leads to an inflationary situation, this same project could end up costing millions more in just a few short years. Interest would add millions more. Even if the economy doesn't get any worse or even improves this project will still cost our district a lot more in two years than it will this fall. I also believe we need to have buildings that are well built and will stand up over time without large costs for maintenance. When it comes to schools you only get back what you put in. It is my opinion that the state is never going to let us do any project that will cost less than the project we are trying to pass now. They know that cheap buildings end up costing a lot of money to maintain. I don't want to go from the district with the "Ghetto Schools" to the district with the pole barn schools. Our kids deserve a good education in well built schools that last. When we can do that for less than a dollar a day I believe that to do nothing is just not acceptable. Please, please voters say yes to this bond issue. If we don't do this now there won't be any better deals for the district later, that is something I will guarantee. -- Rick Ellsworth, LPA Board Member

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