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Letter: Levy vote is defining moment

The residents of the Willmar Public School District face a defining moment.

The district is not at a fork in the road, with no clear choices, but actually stands at a T - shaped intersection. This intersection provides two distinct options for the future: turn left or right/failure or success.

As a 1981 graduate, I'm grateful for the excellent education the community and state provided. I recall my freshman year at Concordia College Moorhead, when a professor remarked, "I can tell you are from Willmar" as he handed me back a good grade on a research paper (Thanks, Mr. Polta!). My family members have attended the district since the 1880s.

The Willmar Public Schools is a significant backbone of our community in so many ways: 1. One of our largest employers; 2. Over $2 million annually purchased in goods and services from local businesses; 3. Over 4,000 students enrolled; 4. Hundreds of well-attended activities; and 5. Significant year-around building usage by the community for recreation, education and meetings.

The choice we make in this moment will impact every member of the community. The success of our local economy is directly related to the health of our school district. I have learned firsthand from experiences volunteering with the Economic Development Commission and the Chamber of Commerce how our schools are an economic development tool. People considering moving to the Willmar area for jobs often ask as their first question, "How's the school system?"

By taking the right turn and voting for success, we make an investment that will pay dividends for our children and the community. Our failure to pass the School Board's levy will result in a dramatic decrease in the quality of our students' education. In addition, a failure in this moment will directly impact our local economy as dozens of good jobs are lost and many of those affected sell homes and leave our community, not to be replaced.

Please take the right turn at the intersection we face and vote yes twice -- once for children and once for the community!