To the editor:
As I sit here mulling over the results of the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton school board election, numerous thoughts and emotions run through my mind. I, personally, would like to thank the entire board for the direction they have chosen to follow the last few years.
I would like to mention two important issues. An article I recently read in the Tyler Tribute shows that finances have been handled quite well, as the RTR district real estate taxes appear to be lower than in most, possibly all, of neighboring districts. Foremost, RTR continues to offer a very high standard of education to the students. An example is a recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune showing the 2011 Minnesota MCA test scores. For public, non-metro schools, RTR ranks 69 percent proficient in math, with the state average being 57 percent. RTR ranks 87 proficient in reading with the state average at 75 percent. I found seven schools in the entire public, non-metro state list higher than RTR in math and only one in reading. Keep in mind this is out of approximately 279 schools.
Unfortunately, I feel we have lost an excellent board member in Pat O'Toole, who although ran unopposed for his position, was voted off in an apparent, very organized, yet secretive, hush-hush, write-in campaign. Knowing Mr. O'Toole, it appears that his (and the entire board's) two major concerns were trying to hold down expenses, while at the same time striving to offer students the best possible education. Both of these goals are obviously attributed to not only the school board, but also the superintendent, principals and definitely the quality teaching and support staff.
But sadly, some of the public, myself included, tend to assume that when issues appear favorable, there is no need for concern. An individual is running unopposed so we do not need to make the effort to vote. Wrong decision. Voting is a right that we cannot take for granted. Had these other "candidates" publicly filed for the position, or at least contacted the newspaper so their views could have been made known to the entire public along with the other candidates who had filed, it would have given everyone an opportunity to do their research and make an informed decision, go to the polls and vote. But, as can easily occur when the situation appears to be running smoothly and candidates run "unopposed," we tend to become complacent and apathetic.
Let us all, as hopefully one community, not forget, and in the future not forgo our very important right to vote.
Again, a big thank you to the entire board, administration, teaching and support staff for their dedication and service to the community.
RTR school district constituent