Support the three Rs – Reading, ’Riting, and ReferendumFour Carlton County School Districts are asking voters to approve learning levy dollars on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Here's why we think you should vote "yes."
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Paper, pencils, graphing calculator, science book, gym shoes, parking pass, teachers, computer updates, smaller classrooms, extracurricular activities, coaches – this may not sound much like the class requirements of old. But the reality of today’s educational system is that more and more responsibility for those things is being placed squarely on the shoulders of students, their families and the residents of their districts if our schools are going to succeed in meeting or exceeding even the most basic of standards.
Referendum talk has been swirling around the state for quite some time now, but since the legislature succumbed to a kneejerk reaction to balance the state budget during its special session last summer and endorsed late reimbursements to school districts, referendums have become more of a “must have” rather than a “nice to have” scenario.
It’s tough to convince taxpayers who are already struggling, or who are living on fixed incomes, or who are facing significant tax increases due to the change in homestead classifications that they should voluntarily opt in to one more level of taxation they can’t afford.
But if we consider the tradeoffs of saying no to this boost in school funding, we will have to be prepared to face the consequences. Students who are forced to comply to ever-increasing standards while staying static – or going backward – in technology, class sizes, teachers, electives and activities are not only less likely to succeed but they are less likely to want to raise their own children in this area following graduation. Why would they, when other school districts around the state have chosen to access referendum money to keep their schools competitive and their students on the path to success?
While referendum funding does not always guarantee success, it certainly gives our students a running chance at it. Go out and vote next Tuesday to give our students a better stake in the future and the future of our area. Could we have asked for anything less for ourselves?
~ Wendy Johnson