To the editor:
November’s election is critical for Stillwater Area Public Schools. The district’s 2013 operating levy is expiring. Question 1 on the ballot is the community’s only chance to replace the existing levy and secure continued, crucial, local funding for district students.
Without an operating levy, the district will immediately lose $12 million in annual funding. Our students will experience significantly larger class sizes. Schools will see a reduction in special programming and electives. Students will have fewer academic and mental health supports. Kids would lose opportunities currently available in arts and athletics.
Question 2 is a new levy request to address technology. Most metro districts have dedicated technology funding. Our district lags neighboring districts in its ability to keep up with basic technology needs. Growing online security threats require the district to do more to protect student and community private data.
After the last two years it is clear how important technology is to anytime, anywhere student learning. Without a technology levy, our district will even struggle to find funding to have enough computers to conduct basic required state testing.
I was elected to serve our school district less than a year ago. It’s OK to not agree with every recommendation the district makes and it’s understandable to not agree with every vote a school board casts. There are ways to address differences – join the PTA, volunteer in our schools, engage with staff, run for school board, or support a school board candidate who better reflects your views. These are all ways to advocate for change without jeopardizing our students’ educations.
Question 1 helps the district continue providing the quality programs offered today, avoiding catastrophic cuts.
Question 2 provides dedicated technology funding to keep our district competitive by ensuring 21st century tools and skills are being provided. Both questions must pass to ensure the district can provide students with the academic support needed to improve student achievement which is something independent surveys indicate our community overwhelmingly supports.
Pony Pride is alive and well in our community. Show your support by voting yes to Questions 1 and 2 on Nov. 2.