To the Editor:
In 2003, voters in the Fairmont Area school district supported the school's request for an operating levy of $500 per student for 10 years, providing more than $1 million each year for programs. This excess levy is set to expire in 2013-2014.
In the past several years, voters in our neighboring districts have supported authorization operating levies. These total $2,788 for Granada-Huntley-East Chain, $1,540 for Martin County West, and $1,478 for Truman. In addition, our district has the lowest operating levy in the South Central Conference.
Thanks to generous and concerned voters in our district, bond referendums were approved to provide the excellent facilities we have for our students. However, what happens inside these facilities is also important to the education of our students. Bond referendum dollars cannot be used for the operating/learning programs in our schools.
The school board has been cutting the budget every year for the past four years and now there is nowhere else to go without seriously damaging the programs in our schools. We are fortunate to have a comprehensive school district offering excellent curriculum, fine arts programs and co-curricular programs. Participation in the fine arts and co-curricular programs is at 60 percent, so many are taking advantage of these offerings.
In the past several weeks, the school board has been wrestling with what cuts to make if we do not renew the $500 levy while adding another $450 to it, bringing it to $950 per student. The board is considering serious cuts, and we all would be upset to see that happening in our district.
The cost to a homeowner of a $100,000 home for this increased levy would be $116 annually, or 32 cents a day. We all have limited funds, whether we are young parents or senior citizens, but we all have to decide what our priorities are in our spending. I would challenge that whether it is a cup of coffee, lunch out, a trip to the casino or some other item in our budget, we could each find that amount of money to support our students.
When individuals or businesses are looking at moving to Fairmont, one of the most important things on their list is to have a good school system. It is our privilege and duty to provide excellent learning opportunities and programs for all students in our district. Voting yes on this referendum will not add any programs but will just maintain the excellent district we have. Voting no will cause serious consequences for the students in our district. Please join me in voting yes on Nov. 6.
former school board member