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To the Editor: Carlton, forget about consolidation

To the Editor:

Aug. 8 is an important date for Carlton school district voters. There is a flurry of informational meetings and every opportunity for voters to get the facts needed to make the best decision for them and their neighbors. The Carlton school district is proposing an addition to South Terrace Elementary to house a new high school.

I am a senior citizen on a fixed income. I care about my taxes. I have hit a couple of the informational meetings and find that the cost to do nothing eventually will come back to bite us as repairs to aging buildings mount. The School Board can levy additional taxes to make health and safety repairs. It is also possible that the cost for mandatory repairs will cut into programs and affect the education we are providing for our kids. Yup, our taxes will go up whether we get a new facility or not. At least with a new school we will get something for our money.

The elephant in the room is consolidation. I've heard, "I will never vote a dime until they consolidate with Wrenshall." Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Carlton and Wrenshall have been discussing consolidation off and on for 25 years and maybe longer. In the last several years a very concerted effort has been made to come to an agreement. We elected school boards from both districts to work toward consolidation. Our school boards have met and researched to bring this about. When two committed school boards have meeting after meeting and hit stumbling block after stumbling block, it is time to move on.

If we continue to put improvements on hold while the communities sort out their issues, who does this affect? Our students. How long do we intend to hold our students hostage? I want the kids in this community to have best we can give them now — not in the distant future when we finally come to grips with how the communities can share the education of our greatest asset: our kids.

Deb Bahen