Letter: Some alternatives for RCW
A few issues to seriously consider for Renville County West:
Enrollment -- the actual enrollment as of Aug. 18 for kindergarten is 30; for first grade, 37. The candidates for Renville County Commissioner cite declining population as an important issue for the area.
Even if population stays stable, we could be cutting our children short by thinking we could maintain a full curriculum for them.
Warranty -- I haven't heard much about it. What happens if a new building would need major repairs 10 years from now, like Willmar does? They have to pay their own repair bills.
Economic development -- not. Our RCW superintendent is claiming $250,000 to $400,000 savings with a new school. A large part of the savings will come from eliminating positions. This may be a cook, janitor, secretary or teacher. Some person(s) may be told they don't have their job any more.
Taxes -- commercial business owners and agricultural land owners depend on their investment in business for their retirement; why shouldn't a person with a 401K or PERA get taxed on that also? Yes, there is a tax deferment program available. Along with that can come a tax lien, penalties and interest on your property. One way or another, it will get collected -- let's not fool ourselves. There is no free lunch.
Let's look at a comparison everyone in the RCW district is familiar with -- the golf course. "Build it and they will come" was part of the philosophy; not enough people came. Renville had to sell its longtime nursing home to raise some cash and to have something more to tax.
My idea for the situation -- let's keep K-6 or K-8 local, and team up with a neighboring district for high school.
I hope this will serve as an invitation to other districts to come and talk with us. Since our current board isn't willing to carry the torch and be innovative, we need to use economic sense and really think about how we can give our children the best opportunity. New bricks don't teach kids -- teachers do!