To The Editor:
On April 2, this community and the patrons of the Washington School District will have the opportunity to vote on two proposals that will give the students a safe and quality education.
One is a no tax increase to upgrade technology and build an early childhood center. The other is to increase the tax rate by only 25 cents to build a new middle school to eliminate overcrowding and do away with all the expensive trailers and closets used as classrooms. The 25-cent increase will still be less than surrounding areas and districts throughout the state.
A gentleman from New Haven questioned why the district was upset at losing over $94,000 with federal cuts. The reason is that through the years the Republican legislation in Jefferson City has been cutting funds to public schools and now they are more concerned about putting guns in our schools instead of funding our schools.
Also, the parents and community have not passed a tax increase in 27 years, perhaps a state record. A family would be hard-pressed to live on funds 27 years ago today and this district is having that problem. This district is starving and parents don’t seem to care. Some say that the district is wasteful. Last year Lori VanLeer and the district received a national award for being most frugal with the district finances. All schools, parochial and public, have some waste and even in our own households there is waste.
Some families may say that they cannot afford an extra 25 cents and some may not at this time. But, you need to ask, do I sacrifice now so that my children will benefit from an excellent and safe education.
I have taught in both parochial and the Washington School District for 34 years and now I mentor students once a week. During those years, I met some wonderful parents who worked very hard to support their children’s education and I’m sure there are many who do now. The problem is that there are way too many who don’t care.
In last year’s election only 20 percent of public school parents voted. If 80 percent of parents don’t care about education or their children’s future how will anything be accomplished?
Being a teacher means that you must love the students you teach. Teachers sacrifice time, family and in the Washington District their salary. It is not uncommon for a teacher to spend over $1,000 a year on their students to acquire enrichment materials the district can’t afford.
It is amazing how much parochial parents sacrifice for their children’s education. It would be nice if the public school parents would do the same.
The school district provides services to over 250 students from the parochial schools plus all the PSR students from the Catholic schools. Do we tell them that they do not deserve a quality education, I hope not. All students deserve a quality education. It is what we must do for our community.
As you observe the new city buildings and now the beautification along Highway 100 and the expensive cars that travel our streets, you would think that Washington is progressive. But if you would take a prospective industrial or business client to see our schools, they would see a different story. Playgrounds filled with ugly trailers, the high school track and football field with caution and condemned signs and our technology almost 10 years behind other school districts, why would they want to invest in Washington when they can go seven miles away to Union.
They want a community that supports their public schools and have an intelligent labor force.
I don’t have any children, but I support education both parochial and public. Both are important to our nation’s survival with other nations that promote their education.
On April 2, bring your children with you to vote. Show them what it is to be a good citizen and vote yes and yes to show them that you care about them.