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Open Letter to FLSD Community 4-18-22

Hailey Crowder, Senior and Journalism Student at FLSD wrote an interesting article for the spring 2022 Fountain Lake mailer that district patrons have recently received. This is an Open Letter responding to her comments, which are italicized.

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Dear Hailey,

I can understand how deflated you and other Cobra fans are about your school’s recent millage defeat in the special election on February 8, 2022. While you have identified how close the total vote was in that race, I think you will agree that reaching those 572 people who didn’t vote will be difficult in the future. I submit that perhaps that group didn’t vote because they didn’t like the package that Fountain Lake School District (FLSD) was selling, at the prices and conditions that the district was proposing.

FLSD was asking for permission to borrow $44,250,000, to be repaid, plus interest, by district property owners over the next 30 years.

 Hailey correctly wrote in her introduction: A school district is required to have a minimum of 25 mills…dedicated to maintenance and operation. 

She and probably others appear to misunderstand that those 25 “M&O” mills are already guaranteed by the 34.8 mills that every property owner in FLSD owes and will continue to pay.

This election was not about the 34.8 mills FLSD approved several years ago. This ballot asked for a 5 mill increase for a proposed new K-3 elementary school; a new workforce/community center; a new performance arena for 2,000 people; new roads and an ADA parking lot; plus kitchen/cafeteria space, new classrooms, and playing fields.

 All of us have trouble getting our heads around how much goods $44,250,000 will buy. Let me give you a concrete example: in the U.S. today the average price of a shiny new car is $31,000. Now picture a parking lot lined with 1,419 new cars. That is the extra buying power of the $44,250,000 that FLSD requested.

 FLSD didn’t lose the election solely because 572 patrons didn’t show up at the polls. It lost because the superintendent and school board members over-reached with their “laundry list” of community-building and entertainment projects. Did the district consult forum groups made up of honest cross-sections of its patrons, not just the stalwart few who attend school board meetings, to find out what they want and are willing to pay for? We are the ones being asked to foot the bill. FLSD’s problems are larger than a “turn out the vote” campaign. Ms. Crowder continues…we implore all of those who support this school and her endeavors to get out and vote. To which we reply, AMEN!

Congratulations to you and your class upon your graduation!

Patty MacDonald


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