For the second year in a row, my district is one of many sending voters to the polls in hopes they will vote “yes” in its attempt to raise property taxes to fund the local schools. Last year, “no” was the answer, and we cut $7 million district-wide, resulting in the loss of 80+ full time staff (spread over 14 schools and the district office). In my department, we lost my fave, my Molly, and the loss still hurts. In addition to cuts in staff, we raised fees, cut programs, and cut staff development. This year, tomorrow, another “no” conclusion will result in another $7 million decrease in funds. I could lose my job as easily as Molly lost hers last year.
With this in mind, readers, consider this (yes, I’m politicking on my blog):
*My district is one of 99 MN districts with levies or referendums on the ballot tomorrow. Though this is an “off year” in terms of big politics, please consider the other issues and GO VOTE TOMORROW.
*The federal government provides only 9% of the money needed to fund public education. The rest comes from state and local government. In MN, we have good ol’ Tpaw in office, meaning the local government (i.e. your property taxes) funds the majority of schools’ needs.
*A house with an estimated value of $350,000 will only see a $400 increase in property taxes to support my district’s proposal. This situation is similar in most districts. This equals only $34 a month. I spend that on Caribou Coffee each month, for pete’s sake. Consider the ways in which we spend our money…isn’t education a priority?
*Until major education reform that works happens (death to NCLB), schools WILL need to keep asking citizens for more money. It is an inevitable fact.
Please vote tomorrow, and if your district has a school levy, vote yes. If you are NOT a homeowner, then you should definitely vote yes, as the tax increase won’t hurt you at all :-). For me, tomorrow will be a day of worry. My job is in the hands of the voters. Not many people other than politicians can say that. Even if I don’t lose my position, my job will change. If “no” is the vote, then my class sizes will go up again, my development will be denied again, and my students will miss out on valuable opportunities, as more programs and activities will be cut. Think of the whole (community) instead of the part (you).
(*steps off soapbox; goes back to work*)