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November 17, 2005

Comments

Oak Heights Resident

I am single...I am childless. I moved into the "country" near Cold Spring 3 years ago in January. I came to this area for a job in St. Cloud. I lost that job in June. I am going back to school (college) in January. While the reasons for a property tax increase for our school system may be reasonable, I find that I'm going to have all I can do to support myself (my home mortgage and health care, etc.) go to school and get another good paying job. I voted no...but only for these reasons. Maybe the next time another referendum comes up, I will vote "YES". Oak Heights Circle resident.

Ken Hollerud

I am sorry 'tax payer' if I misunderstood. But with the words you chose such as "They claim us, the tax payers" and "Us 'no' voters" I just thought................. To try and make this short and simple: I don't care who this school employee is. You are talking about rumors and gossip. I think you owe the schools an appology for basically saying they are recklessly spending money and also they are hiding money. Are we to think "golly a school employee said this, so it has to be true. Want any swamp land in Florida anyone? No wonder you won't post your name. I find it odd that you asked ALL your questions to one 'candidate' and all candidates supported the referendum.
Well, that's my 2 cents on this issue. I feel silly even responding to some of this.Bless all the no's and yes' and have a great day!

Tax Payer

Ken,
By the word 'We' I mean my husband and I. I am not a spokesperson for the 'no' people. 'Us' also refers to my husband & I. Don't drag it out of context. Keep in mind, the 'no' votes beat the 'yes' votes. I'm only one poster on here, but there we're many others on Nov 8th just the same, hence the 'no pass'. The 'tidbits' I received we're from a school employee who I of course would not divulge, and yes I asked my questions to the Richmond candidate, who was able to answer them for me (us, we). I'm not making it into more than it is. It's a posting, I can express my views like the rest, sorry they don't match yours!

Ken Hollerud

Boy 'taxpayer' you seem to be really turning this into an 'us' and 'them' with your "no voters and yes voters". I guess if you really wanted answers like you claim, you would have asked the questions. Did you? And if so, to whom?
And what's with the "people like you" directed and Gary? Doesn't sound much different than the "do with you people" you seemed so offended by. You sound very hipocritical. My views may be unpopular, but I don't care if people know who I am. You have more to say here than anyone, yet you remain anonymous. You certainly have nominated yourself spokesperson for the "yes" voters by stating "Personally WE don't and WE care about the kids". Please quit speaking for all the people who voted no, and speak only for yourself.
And these so called "tidbits" you claim, and frivilous spending witnessed by an employee (psssst... did you hear????) are no more than rumors being spread around by "people like you"

Tax Payer

In fairness I want to say not only how much we care about the kids, I prove it by VOLUNTEERING weekly as a religious ed teacher. I have been involved in that area since 1993, off and on. The 'no' voters are not people who don't care, they are people who not only care, but want answers.

Taxpayer

"do with you people" - you see, its such a one-sided fence for some of you 'yes' voters. Mr. Torborg, if you would reread my previous post where I say 'some things I vote yes for' you would realize I HAVE INDEED voted the same as you before. This specific time, I chose not to. I did not feel as this specific time the numbers are adding up. I did not feel at this specific time justification is being given for me to pay more. To your counter asking question, I reply by saying again, I HAVE paid and will continue to pay through my taxes, but at this specific vote I chose not to. I'm not going to just say yes to please people like you. I have the right to say, things aren't adding up and I want more information. Now, if it was income based - SURE, we would have signed YES. But we are all making cutbacks in life, and so if we have to reassess our personal finances and pick and choose, so should the school. I've received a tidbit last week that there is actually surplus of money sitting with the school and its in a little areas of surplus just sitting there. I also heard from an actual school employee of 'frivilous spending that they witness' - I've heard too many things to just vote yes, I have the right to ask questions and feel comfortable with spending my money, just the same as the next guy. Us 'no' voters are not the bad guy, just because we have a different opinion. I don't think we say that about the 'yes' voters, personally we don't. Certainly we could come to a common ground, but on Tues the 8th when the voting took place, I didn't feel comfortable with the information presented. So, FOR NOW, our votes we're no.

Rocori Supporter

Tax Payer asks why taxes must go up for the children and school to grow? They go up because costs go up each year -and not just well-deserved teacher salaries - so schools need more money just to keep things the same. Our parents and grandparents paid their taxes to maintain our schools and many buildings in our district prove that because they are beyond their useful life. Do your parents and grandparents still live in their original homes or have they updated them? Do you live in a home just like your parents or grandparents or is it better because of the improvements in science and technology our culture has made? I received my property tax estimate for next year. My property valuation has gone up and all of my other taxes - except the 2 items for Rocori. They've both gone down. Why is the school getting less and less of my tax dollars?

Gary Torborg

To the "Tax Payer" who asks "Why do my taxes have to keep going up in order for the children and school to grow?": I counter-ask "if you and I don't pay for it through our taxes, who's going to?" The people who vote "no" to things like this forget all too quickly that all they're attempting to do is say "not me." Sooner or later, everyone in a public school district has to pay for the increasing costs of our kids going to school. What must Rocori do with you people to prove that they have trimmed every last bit of waste out of their budget and can't cut any more? What does Rocori have to do to not only show that the money is truly needed but also convince people like "Tax Payer" that they have to pitch in their share? I realize as much as anyone else that our tax system isn't perfect; it isn't even ideal. But, it's what we have *now* and Rocori needs funds *now*. It can't wait any longer, while families with household incomes 2-3x mine complain about an *annual* tax increase that would amount to less than half the *monthly* payment on their new trucks, boats, and snowmobiles (none of which I own). I'm a Tax Payer too. I've voted yes 5 times now. We're going to lose our good schools if a lot of other people don't start doing likewise.

Tax Payer

I received our proposed tax statement yesterday. As a Cold Spring resident, my taxes are going up 8%. Parents taxes in Richmond are going up 9%.
Our taxes have not gone 'down'.
We do not 'blame the school board' for everything. We do however want more accountability with the spending. I think what some people don't understand is us 'no' voters aren't saying to pay teachers less, we actually agree on many terms in these arguments of pros & cons...please notice that. What I don't agree with is just simply saying: ok, all you homeowners - here is what you are going to pay this year and thats that. And if you don't, you must not care. I don't appreciate being treated like I'm a bad person if I vote no. Thats my right too and if I require more information or better financial spending by the school and its authorities, I think I'm entitled.

Ken Hollerud

People may get upset with my views, but hey, that's America!
Could it be that as a society we are so use to things 'just taking care of themselves?'
Not much has been mentioned about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been cut over the past few years. And as a community, it is obvious that we are not stepping to the plate. I am aslo tired of hearing about it being the school boards fault. They certainly have not made the financial cuts. It has been mentioned that our teachers make too much. Compared to what? It is like any other profession. When you decide where you want to work, you weigh the pros and cons, including income potential. They are not charity workers. This is a business. And if you want great teachers (which we have) you have to pay! And for those who live within Cold Spring city limits, check your property tax statements for the past few years. Notice anything? That's right. Your taxes more than likely have gone DOWN. So don't complain about an increase. People just do not seem to understand the big picture, and how as a community we are directly linked to our schools. I don't care if you have any kids in school or not. Government is not helping out like they were 10 years ago. Now people seem to be wondering why they should. Keep it up, and see where we will be in 10 years. Scary. Maybe it will take being on the national news as a system that was shut down due to condemnation. Or people realizing that maybe having their families in this community is not such a good idea after all. Maybe then property values will go down, and everyone will wonder why. Gee...
Bottom line here is the only way to pass ANYTHING is for citizens to understand this fact: It is in their best interest!

Tax Payer

Personally, we're really tired of people saying 'what went wrong' because they claim us, the tax payers, don't want to better our children, our town, our community pride. Nothing could be further from the truth and its tiring to continue explaining that to some of the folks who are so upset about the the votes failing. Why do my taxes have to keep going up in order for the children and school to grow? Something is wrong with this picture and I hope the school board starts to take some accountability for the budget and spending. We are all for supporting our schools and some things we vote yes for, others no. We have that right like everyone else - it doesn't mean because we vote 'no' that we are saying 'to the dumps with our schools system, our kids, and our community'. For some of the 'yes' people to put that label on us, they are clearly only fooling themselves. Take the time to understand and listen 'why' we voted no. I'm personally tired of my taxes going up and not enough accountability on the school spending. Who doesn't want a great school system? We all do. But tacking onto my taxes and asking for money every year is not the answer. We look forward to the new school board member hopefully adding some much needed value to the system. Ken makes a great point in his post to have the taxes be based on income, not property value. I can't pay the same as the guy next door.

Mike Austreng

Voters once again have said a resounding “NO” to giving our school system more money. We can’t say we were too surprised when we consider the fact that this isn’t the first time. We’ve been asked several times “what do they (the voters) want?”

The obvious answer is “no more taxes”.

Another question that’s been repeated to us is “what went wrong?”

We’ve spent time thinking about that one and it might have more than one answer. First we are living in a time of war – that has effects on our economy. Then there are the natural disasters that, although many miles from here, have had an effect on our own pocketbooks with higher prices for things like gasoline, food – well, this list could go on, but let’s just say we’re paying more for nearly everything because it either costs more to deliver it, or there’s a short supply. Then there’s the news that our heating costs will be MUCH higher this winter. These are probably too many negatives facing everyone being asked to approve an increase in property taxes.

Another thought might be that voters were being asked too many questions. Maybe one or two might have had a better chance, but not three. Yes, we could pick and choose with three questions, but when people added all three together it might not have been a good picture. Obviously it wasn’t. Although the votes weren’t far apart, the nays prevailed – again.

To be honest, we wouldn’t want to be faced with the problems our school system will face in the coming months. There are serious issues with building maintenance, rising costs, and we can’t forget the space concerns. Are there answers – there always are, but what the failure to get more money is going to mean to the school system is that eventually programs are going to be cut. And class sizes will increase. Fees may have to be added for what’s been offered at little or no cost to those participating in extra-curricular activities.

At some point the school is going to need more money; if not for a new school, at least to keep operating. If not, things will have to change in what’s offered to our students. Maybe one answer would be to go to full-time schooling – utilize the building space that sits empty three months of the year. That too could mean higher costs (we don’t think we could expect students and teachers to attend school in the summer heat without air conditioning; teachers would have a year-round job and would have to be paid more). But, year-round school could help with space problems.

Something has to happen with our school system budget. This area has grown tremendously in the past several years – one of the reasons is the reputation of our school system. It’s a reputation worth protecting.

Ken

I think the referendum failed because the taxes to pay for it are based on the value of your property rather than your income. Some people can't stretch their budgets any further unless they cut into the basics. Basing taxes on the ability to pay for them would require a huge effort on the part of our legislature but it can and must be done to address the growing income gap between rich and middle-low income people.

Ron B.

The fine reputation that the ROCORI School District has enjoyed is certainly a result of the fine people who teach and administer within it. But one has to wonder how long that reputation will last when the community keeps voting down measures that address the clearly-defined needs in our district.

Jan

I am wondering why this "community" can not pass any levy to better our kids and in turn better the community?

I do not know if it is the older generation or if it is a combination of young and old but I would like to know why people do not think we need to move forward.

What will it take to get the community to understand what it takes to move forward?

If anyone has any ideas...share them......!

Duane Kuss

My wife and I moved here to the ROCORI School District because of its reputation for supporting it schools and providing exemplary education for students. There appears to be a distinct reversal of this trend happening that very much concerns us.

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