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Times have changed--support levy referendum

Schools are economic development for a community and the state. The higher the educational level of a student, the greater the earning power and the greater the return in an investment from taxes received. However in these times, we see the average family, statistically, have less than two children per house hold. That simply means declining enrollments. With declining enrollments means school districts shrink (and what school district hasn't reduced their budget?) or seek other measures to meet the needs of kids (consolidation). Further, most communities have less than 20 percent of families who have children in public schools. That makes the passage of school operating levies a challenge. In previous years, we had an attitude that we were responsible for our children and that we wanted to give them the best education we possibly could...we owed them as much. Times have changed...

Today we see schools trying to pass operating levies to simply exist. We see teacher salaries drop nationally from 12th place to 22nd place, yet people still think teachers are making too much money. Teachers still come early and stay late for kids. We see a Governor call for higher entrance scores to enter teacher education programs. Yet, we have 33% to 50% of our new teachers leave the profession in the first five years. We see our teachers constantly looking for new and better ways of helping the students that they are in charge of...yet, criticism abounds with the school doesn't meet the standards of No Child Left Behind-where educators can't be creative, but simply teach to the test. Times have changed...

We see individuals remark that they are opposed to operating levies because of the funding formula, but not against the school system. Those types of remarks are simply indicative of a lack of knowledge of school funding or an outright attack on kids.

We hear that "schools need to be run like a business." That's simply another attack on the school system through ignorance. It just unbelievable the situation that public school funding is in today. Declining enrollments, lack of funding from the state, declining salaries and teachers leaving the profession. Yet people in communities "attack" the school with their statements of "running the school like a business" or "I'm going to vote against an operating levy because of the lack of funding."

Just one question?

Where have those people been in the last few years? We have a system of have and have nots!

Communities that support their schools and pass operating levies and those schools that don't! We have 52 more operating levies this fall that will be voted upon-for school districts to exist! When levies fail parents can simply open enroll their children to the community that supports their school (and provides more educational programs) and...the money follows the student. That means the home school loses that money-more budget reductions! Thus, we have a two class system, the communities that support schools and those that do not! Young parents are very bright and will see the opportunities for their children in the school district that supports good educational programs. So what's it going to be? Support kids or come up with some false argument to vote no? If the operating levy passes it supports the kids and community. If it fails, kids can simply move on...and the community loses. Times have changed, have you?


Jerry Horgen, Henning