Public education requires public support
Our local public schools are in the midst of a financial crisis not of their own doing. As a former member of the Concord Community Schools Board of Trustees, and as a professional who has worked closely with Elkhart Community Schools, I respect the administrators and staff of the corporations, not only for the outstanding work they do educating our children each day, but for their monumental efforts in creatively stretching the dwindling dollars. The situation for both of these systems has become critical because of the financial storm created by the implementation of constitutionally-mandated tax caps.
Concord schools has lost $10 million since 2008 when the tax caps took effect and will lose another $4.2 million this year alone. For Elkhart schools, the loss since 2008 is $17 million, with $5 million lost this year. I have witnessed the dedication and commitment of staff to work creatively to overcome the financial obstacles and focus on student achievement. The current financial reality is handicapping their efforts to provide a 21st century education to students. The ultimate price will be paid by the students and the community without our help.
That’s why I believe it is important to support the May 6 referenda. For the 5,000 Concord students this will mean critical upgrades to technology and transportation while maintaining high-quality education in uncrowded classrooms. For the 12,000 Elkhart students their 2 mile walk zones will be reduced and critical safety and security needs in the buildings will be addressed.
Strong school systems offer the very best to this community’s future business owners, legislators, teachers, artists, welders, painters, nurses and construction workers who are learning in our school systems today. Let’s support the public school systems as they prepare our children for the future.