I-35 Billboard Urges Voters To Pass Levy In Forest Lake

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 at 6:28 am

It’s less than two weeks until Minnesotans will head to the polls for the mid-term election of 2010. Political candidates are running ads repeatedly on local TV and Radio, and you can’t go anywhere without seeing yard signs. But voting for candidates is only part of the ballot in many districts, as scores of school districts have education levy’s also being voted on.

Since school districts are struggling financially in this tough economic climate, some local parent-teacher organizations have taken up the responsibility of getting their message out in an attempt to sway votes to their side.

One such group in Forrest Lake, called “Yes For Schools”  has pooled it’s money to put a billboard along Interstate 35. The billboard encourages voters to vote in favor of a bond and levy.

“If we can get them to just look at that billboard and say, ‘Hey, something is going on with our schools and I need to vote about it. I’d better find what’s going on,’ then it’s done its job,” Laurie Kumerow of “Yes For Schools” told WCCO.

That’s how Kumerow justifies the $5,000 billboard that stands along I-35, just south outside of Forest Lake. She has children in the school district and she thinks the billboard’s message could save schools.

“If I’m spending a couple thousand dollars to help educate voters and it gets them to pass this levy and this bond, that’s going to get our school districts the millions of dollars that they need. That’s a pretty darn good return on investment,” Kumerow concluded.

Kumerow told WCCO the school district has made cuts in five of the last seven years. On Nov. 2, voters have a chance to approve a $24 million bond for building repairs and a levy.

The levy would replace an existing levy and would give the school district $10 million a year for the next 10 years. It is a fact some PTO’s thought was important enough to promote on a billboard.

It should be noted that some within the community don’t believe the organization should be advertising in such a manner. Opponents of such an approach say that voters should be allowed to make up their own minds, and shouldn’t be swayed by billboards to raise taxes.

Pine County also has an education levy that will be on the ballot, and Superintendent of Schools Dennis Fisher will be on Cool Country 100.9 next Tuesday (Oct. 26) at 7:10 a.m. to discuss the issue.

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