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Make an educated vote

To the Editor:

To the Barnum School District voters, on Aug. 12 you will be asked to vote yes or no on a building referendum for the Barnum School District. I am glad I live in a country where we can make our own decision on how to vote. I do, however, take exception to those who send out misleading and false information. I would like to respond to some of those misleading statements that are being made about the building referendum for the Barnum School District.

This is the plan for the renovation of the Barnum High School:

1. We are adding new classrooms but we are not doubling the number of rooms we have.

2. We are not doubling the square footage of the high school. We are adding an additional 30,000 square feet to the high school, going from 90,961 to 120,961 square feet.

3. There is no conspiracy to add on to the high school to allow for a Barnum/Moose Lake merger. In fact, at the May 2014 board meeting, a unanimous vote was taken to not have a consolidation discussion with Moose Lake at the time.

4. Studies show that improved air quality, lighting and sound do improve test scores.

5. Using $15,000,000 in the same sentence with a discussion about gyms, bleachers and locker rooms might make one think that’s how much the gym costs. Voters in the Barnum School District are smarter than that.

6. Open enrollment has proved to be very beneficial for kids coming to Barnum from other school districts and it has been very beneficial for our school. Why shouldn’t kids who are struggling in one school district have the opportunity to excel in another? Why not ask a parent of an open-enrolled child in Barnum to see how it has made a difference in their child’s life?

7. Historical and other studies indicate that our school district continues to grow. Recent demographics may show that Carlton County will not be growing but Barnum School District is.

8. In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law allowing school boards the authority to authorize a $300 per pupil, per year for up to five years to equalize funding between school districts. In August 2013, the school board did pass this one-time authorization. The money is being used to upgrade the school bus and van fleet, technology and offset food service and athletic costs.

9. A second gym will eliminate crowding, allow for more family time (no more Sunday afternoon practices), improve phy-ed and athletic safety issues, and improve student and community physical health.

Please go to the Barnum School District website ( and review all of the information about the referendum or call a school board member, then make your decision. Don’t make it based on misleading information. Thank you.

Colleen Fetters

Barnum School Board member