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Beverly Boss, Fargo, Published March 22 2014

Letter: Scare tactics, tantrums have no place in Fargo schools discussion

It was alarming to read the reactionary and probably punitive direction that at least one Fargo School Board member is planning to take in regard to the future of our schools.

The March 11 “no” vote on the requested increase in taxes is meant as a wake-up call for the board to be more responsible with the budget and real estate they currently have. To request tax dollars that they “may need” in the future doesn’t make sense to those of us who plan our future based on our anticipated needs, but also with a firm grasp on our current situation and income.

It would be absurd for most of us to think we could go out and build high-end real estate, furnish it and put staff in place to operate it based on a hoped for rise in our income. If new schools are needed, then they should be built, but there should also be consideration given to whether there is room in the budget to operate them and whether the neighborhood tax base can support them. If we have school buildings that are not fully utilized in older neighborhoods, then plans to make them fully functional should be explored.

My children were students at Hawthorne in the 1980s; students from the south end of the district were bused in. Classrooms were very full, but the kids did not suffer in their education, and indeed thrived due primarily to outstanding teachers and support staff. Many lifelong friendships were established, many of those students graduated at the top of their class and the vast majority have gone on to be high-performing professionals.

In areas of town where the population is growing and new schools are being contemplated, students could and should be bused from there to the less-populated buildings.

Taxpayers are saying: look for creative ways to use what you have available. Damaging the tax base in the older areas of the city will not generate increased income for the district. If the board can make the case for more taxpayer dollars, we will support you.

Scare tactics and tantrums have no place in this discussion. We all take pride in the education that our students receive here.