To the editor, 

Sadly, as the debate starts again about a new high school we have hyperbole and false statistics used to scare and divide us. Let’s not let this happen here in our community where we know better.

The Mora High School building is not “just fine” or “perfectly good” as a recent letter would have us believe. Fact: a small minority of daily classes are held in the 1989 addition to the building. Fact: the vast majority of daily classes and activities are held in parts of the building that are as much as 83 years old, and the entire building is being run on infrastructure installed in 1936. The fact that a relatively small addition was added in 1989 doesn’t let you say the

building is 30 years old. My home was built in 1966. In 2007, I put a sizable addition on the house. When I want to sell it, I still have a home built in 1966. That’s how it works.

Let’s talk about this statement. “...the average American employee makes less than $18,000 per year.” Fact: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly income for a full time worker in the U.S. was $908. That’s over $47,000 per year. Also from the BLS, the median weekly income for a part-time worker in the U.S. was $272 which is about $14,100 annually. There are approximately five times more full-time workers than part-time, so that math would work out to about $800 per week or about $41,500 per year. And no, Kanabec County isn’t that far removed from the national numbers. In 2017, the median household income in Kanabec County was $50,509 compared to $61,372 nationally.

I love this community. I’ve lived here for over 27 years, by choice. I could very easily move or have sent my children to a different school. Fact is, there are lots of great things going on in the Mora community and schools. Great opportunities for learning, participating in activities, living healthy and I could go on and on. But let’s use some common sense folks. You can keep throwing your tax money into the high school for repairs and additions and you will still have a building built in 1936.

Have you never had a vehicle, an implement, a shed, a barn or whatever where you come to the realization that it just isn’t worth the time and money to keep fixing it? Where it becomes unsafe or unusable? That world is in the clouds. Let’s ground ourselves in reality during the debate that will now go on until Nov. 5. Let’s think about our kids, our grandkids, our friends and our community and not just about ourselves. It’s time to get this done.

Marc Johnson



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