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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Apr 10, 2008

Armstrong-Ringsted voters defeated the Playground Equipment Resource Levy (PERL) by a vote of 158-96 Tuesday.

While it’s understandable why voters might oppose general obligation bond levies that require a 60 percent supermajority, PPEL and PERL levies require a simple majority for approval. That’s why it’s curious as to why Armstrong-Ringsted voters did not approve the measure. Like everything else, there are right reasons and wrong reasons for denying a new levy.

A right reason would be that the public simply can’t afford it. Given that fact that district-wide it would have cost taxpayers just $17,000 a year, that does not seem to be a satisfactory reason. When Armstrong can gather nearly $200,000 in donations for a pool in less than a year, that’s really just a drop in the bucket.

Another good reason to oppose the levy would have been that it favored Armstrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, no decision had been made as to where the money would have been spent. School board members even went so far as to meet individually with both city councils in Armstrong and Ringsted. That shows how willing the district was to work with all school district patrons. Uses for the levy that had been discussed included updating playground equipment in Ringsted and offering free bussing for children to the new Armstrong pool. As a result of PERL being defeated, people who voted against the levy can now watch their children and grandchildren play on old playground equipment and listen to them plaintively ask for a ride to the pool in Armstrong this summer.

Another good reason to oppose PERL would have been that too much money already goes to the school district compared to what goes to municipalities. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. The Armstrong-Ringsted Board of Education was merely offering to help find ways to improve recreational in both communities.

We suspect it’s unlikely that the school district will bring up PERL again.

Maybe if those who voted against the PERL will think about it, they’ll decide it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. If they want it, though, they’ll have to take up the issue again themselves. The board members, we suspect, would like to just forget that the PERL was ever brought up to begin with.