To the Editor:
The Southwest LRT is estimated to cost $1.25 billion just to build. Funding sources are from federal dollars, county and state.
The annual cost to operate the SW LRT, over $32 million.⁵
How could this money be used instead for sustaining and improving public schools? Let’s put priorities and $1.25 billion into context.
Here’s a hint of how to improve by showing public school debt for districts touched by the SW LRT.
Hopkins¹ debt to approximately the year 2030 is $187,080,032, Minnetonka² $139,169,548, Eden Prairie³ $86,756,927, Minneapolis⁴ $456,316,000.
Total debt $869,322,507.
Looks like $1.25 billion covers that and then some and there is $32 million annual costs still available to help elsewhere!
Hopkins¹ interest expense to approximately 2030 is $70,730,171, Minnetonka² $68,617,740, Eden Prairie³ $23,977,035, Minneapolis⁴ $128,885,628.
Total interest expense $292,210,574.
That’s quite a savings!
What would be the effect on an annual school budget that was without debt and interest expense? In 2014 Hopkins Schools will owe $10,835,000 in principal and $7,405,926 in interest.¹ Question: How many teachers and building repairs could that provide?
Leaders promote and persuade. Followers jump on the train.
It’s about priorities, vision and responsibility.
Let’s secure our schools as priority number one before they have far more debt and it is too late. It’s about spending our total tax dollars wisely. You may say that we can’t determine the use of those LRT dollars. We have to spend them on a train. But, that’s my point. When as taxpayers will we say we’ve had enough of being told how to spend our money? It’s our money. Let’s get the priorities right.
David Lloyd, Minnetonka
¹Hopkins Public Schools, CAFR, Page 53, June 30, 2011, http://www.hopkinsschools.org/sites/default/files/Hopkins_Public_Schools-CAFR-FY11.pdf
² http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/administration/Budget/Documents/District_Audit.pdf Page 63
³ https://webmedia.edenpr.org/District/Documents/comprehensive_2011.pdf Page 48
⁴ http://financeandbudget.mpls.k12.mn.us/uploads/mps_financial_statements_2011.pdf Page 45