The final edition political-general election letters will be published is in our Oct. 22 edition. Letters need to be submitted by 10 a.m. on Oct. 19. 

Dear Editor:

No matter how you vote for president, please consider voting yes for Cambridge-Isanti schools by voting yes for the referendum. I propose that passing this support is best for kids, our community and for your own personal finances.

Let me explain by offering some facts.

The cost of the referendum funding is based on the value of your home; for example $25/month for those owning a $200,000 house. None of us like to add additional expenses, but as you will see, this is an investment with an extremely high expected return.

A few facts about the Cambridge-Isanti school district:

• Currently in the bottom 8% of funding of all Minnesota schools.

• 90 jobs have had to be cut so far.

• $1.7 million will need to be cut next year.

• Some high school classes have more than 40 kids.

• Some elementary school classes have more than 30 kids.

No matter how talented and committed the district staff are, they will not be able to continue to overcome these challenges. And here is what happens:

1) High student-to-teacher ratios reduce the quality of education that can be provided.

2) Lower quality of education generates reduced test scores.

3) Reduced test scores is an indicator of a poorly educated district.

4) Being a poorly educated district attracts less people to our community (both commercially and residentially).

5) Lower housing demand and business growth lower the market value of all of our homes.

If the schools are not funded, class sizes increase, the quality of education drops, and the value of your home is lowered, on average about $10,000.

In a study by Duke University1, research conducted in Pennsylvania found that “for each percentage point increase in school district PSSA score of students who scored proficient or above, the prices of housing in that area increased by $0.52 per square foot.” Applied to the average house size in Minnesota2 (1,828 square feet) means that test scores increasing by 10% correlate to average housing value increases of $9,500.

That’s a lot of numbers, but here is what it boils down to. There are different postures we all take toward living our lives. Some of us focus on providing assistance to individuals who need our help. Others focus on the utilitarian perspective of what is best for overall society. And other focus on what is best for ourselves.

My goal is not to challenge any of these ways in which we approach the world. Instead, I am making the argument that voting yes for the Cambridge-Isanti school referendum is the right decision regardless of your posture toward life.

Your housing value is linked to the quality of our schools. If the education of our children is not enough to drive a yes vote, then go ahead and vote in a way that will help you the most financially ... Vote yes as a high-return investment in the value of your home.

Steve Fredlund

North Branch

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