LETTER: Hoffman sets the record straight

To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Tommerdahl’s statement of me raising taxes via another levy (Letters to the Editor Oct. 11), I must set the record clear. Minnesota relies too heavily on local property taxes to fund schools yet the Minnesota Constitution requires the state to provide “a general and uniform system of public schools.” The current system of school funding leads to vast inequalities between districts. Residents of districts with high property tax bases from business and industry — the “property rich” districts — pay significantly less household property taxes, yet raise significantly more per student revenue through referendum levies than Anoka-Hennepin and other “property poor” districts.

The board assures 74 percent of money brought into the district gets to the classroom while 2.95 percent goes to administration costs. With nonprofit standards saying you should be between 20 and 30 percent for administration costs, I’d say we are fiscally vigilant. Independent accounting firms state how impressed they are with the fact we do so much with so little.

As a small business owner I bring fiscal responsibility to the table in my work as a board member. We reduced the school board portion of your property taxes this past year, even with the passing of the levy as falsely indicated in Mr. Tommerdahl’s letter.

Claiming that the Trust Land Grant monies have already been collected is wrong. The potential is there for $1 to 2 million dollars.  I actually led the effort to assure our district gets reimbursed for services provided. This is new revenue, not from taxes, of $1.6 million dollars each year and forward.

I have never been about quick easy fixes. My work on the school board on behalf of our communities has been one of integrity and high regard when it comes to the investment our communities make to our Local School District.

John Hoffman