Letter: Response to 'Inconvenient Truth' letter
On April 26, 2017 the Park Rapids Enterprise printed an article penned by Ernest Huhta and will probably be in the Menahga Review Messenger this week. The article titled "Inconvenient Truth to the Vote No side" lists five major points Huhta feels are untrue. First issue is open enrollment not being addressed. I have been an advocate of the Menahga School Board and administration to get a hold of the overpopulation problem in the school by controlling open enrolled through busing. The board and administration do not want to discuss the issue. By controlling open enrolled busing three years ago we taxpayers would not be looking at another referendum to vote down.
The addition of 24 new Pre-K open enrolled students in Jan 2017, (not high school students as stated by Huhta) where Huhta states Jon Kangas second a motion to allow them in with the current caps, would have been a 5-to-1 vote with Jon voting "NAY" anyway.
Huhta mentions Curtis Hasbargen's complaint of free drivers training by Kangas in July 2013 to all Menahga students, but during a work session in 2015 Hasbargen stated he wanted no caps on open enrollment. What a flip-flopper! Happy to see Hasbargen voted out!
Huhta states Kangas asked to postpone the district charging open-enrolled students a yearly amount to ride our buses. The April regular board meeting was the first time Superintendent Wellen brought the suggestion to the board after attending a meeting in the Minneapolis metro. Wellen had suggested a $200 charge, but really no further details if this was per student or per family. The info Wellen touted was from St. Michael-Albertville that charges $300 per student and up to $500 per family. I think the administration was trying to get this through for $200 per stop no matter how many students get on. Thank you, Kangas, for having the good sense to postpone this issue until the next meeting after some discussion at the next work session. If this amount sounds like too much for the open enrolled, do what the administration told the taxpayers to do. Skip going out to eat one night per week or maybe not buy that snowmobile to pay for the extra cost.
The fact remains our old board chair Huhta could have done something about this population issue, but refused to even consider it. Now, Huhta wants to duck out on any responsibility for the problem he and other board members have caused through their years on the board.
Most people have probably sent their ballots in for the May 9 vote. If not, get them in on time or your vote will not count. My vote is "no."