To the Editor:
I am writing in support of the upcoming Fairmont Area school referendum to remind voters that even though they may pay slightly more property taxes now, in the long run it is necessary for the overall economic stability of Fairmont. It is easy to become shortsighted on this as one is struggling to make ends meet. However, having good schools is critical to the economic vitality of Fairmont.
When businesses are recruiting employees, they often visit the schools to see what they have to offer their children. Employees are looking for a school with a wide variety of academic offerings as well as music, arts and athletics - a well-rounded education in today's competitive world. We need good schools to maintain our business community, which includes health professionals. I know I would not have returned to Fairmont in 1992 with the current cuts on the table.
The demand for housing affects the sales price of your home. Without families moving to Fairmont Area, the value of your home may decline. One's home is often one's biggest asset, so funding our schools is vital to maintaining housing values.
As a financial professional, I understand school funding is complicated. If you have questions about school finances, ask the administrators and you will see as I have that almost everything is a function of state and federal regulations. I believe our school district is doing a good job of managing finances within those regulations and has made substantial programming cuts over the past years including consolidating many administrative positions. If you have issues with the regulations, talk to your elected politicians. I know from my job in private business that government regulations add administrative work. The amount of the Fairmont Area operating referendum per pupil is substantially less than our surrounding districts, which I believe is a reflection of financial responsibility and efficiencies.
Please think long term for Fairmont's economic vitality and vote yes for the school referendum on Nov. 6.
Tari (Gould) Riley
High School graduate