Bruce Johnson letter: LP-A situation is a no win for both 'yes' and 'no' voters
After numerous letters to the editor regarding the LP-A building question, with compelling reasons for a yes or no vote, yet troubled by the budget problems facing the Detroit Lakes, Frazee-Vergas and Perham-Dent School Districts, I decided to se...
After numerous letters to the editor regarding the LP-A building question, with compelling reasons for a yes or no vote, yet troubled by the budget problems facing the Detroit Lakes, Frazee-Vergas and Perham-Dent School Districts, I decided to search for some data that could possibly put this all in perspective. I came across some information on the website of the Minnesota Department of Higher Education which might help explain the predicament that our school districts are going through and a look at the uncertain future.
They have divided the state into 11 regions, with the Metro being region 11, Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Traverse, Ottertail, Pope and Wilkins Counties being Region 4. They conclude our region has peaked in public and private high school graduation in 2003-2004 at 2,990. From that year they project we will have decreases in graduates until 2014-2015 where they project 2,146 graduates. They attribute this to the exodus of families to the Metro area for employment and primarily that the children of the baby boomers have peaked in graduation and are now declining in number. The state total graduates will go from 65,574 in 2004-05, to 57,812 projected for the year 2014-15. The Metro region graduates will peak in 2008 at 33,980 and decline to 30,695 projected for the 2014-2015 school year.
I can only assume that the Minnesota State Demographic Center, who compiled the projections, used all their available data and resources.
If the state of Minnesota continues to support the school districts on a per pupil basis, the budget problems in most of rural Minnesota will become frequent and more difficult. The Minneapolis School District is planning on closing six elementary schools next year, to stay within their budget, and they will not peak in graduates until 2008.
This is a no win situation for both the yes and the no voters. If the yes voters win they will be blamed for the tax increases, if the no voters win they will be blamed for the loss of students. Whatever the outcome, if we do not find a way to influence new businesses to start operating in our region and retain the young families, we will all lose.
-- Bruce Johnson, Audubon