To the editor,

As chair of the Central Public School Board, I want to thank the community, on behalf of the board, for voting in favor of the operating and capital project levies in the November 5 election.

Our schools and the community needed this referendum, to keep our budget and quality of education on track. People who grew up here or have children who have gone through Central schools know that students can count on small class sizes and personal attention; voter approval of these ballot questions means that can still be the case.

My time serving on the school board for the last few years has been an education for me. I see that good schools are critical to a vibrant community. Our entire community is better off if we wisely invest in our students’ education.

Most people in the community know that I have been an opponent of higher taxes more often than not. The fact is that I’m still a fiscal conservative. I will always speak up for efficiency in the school district at every turn and on every decision. Every tax-supported public body owes that to taxpayers. At the same time, I fully supported this referendum, even knowing that it will increase property tax bills.

The truth is that Central Public Schools’ budget needed help, for several reasons, including that the state’s education funding has not kept up with inflation. Losing the referendum would have meant bigger classes and staff cuts to balance the budget. A referendum loss would have hurt the individual student attention that Central families expect and count on. These cuts might have made other families decide to enroll students in other districts, leading to even more financial struggles and possibly to lower property values. This is why it was important for me to support this proposal.

Now the board will use the funds approved by voters to address district priorities. Revenue generated by the operating levy will allow the district to erase existing and projected budget deficits, update the curriculum and maintain existing programs and small class sizes. Revenue from the capital projects levy will allow Central Schools to maintain existing high school technology programs and expand technology offerings for elementary and middle school students. Everyone understands how important technology training is in today’s world.

We know, of course, that not everyone voted yes. No one respects that more than I do. But the board and administration believe there is common ground in supporting the needs of our children among all of our residents. Our promise is to invest these dollars wisely and effectively in our students’ education. We will continue to communicate with our communities at every step.

Updates to the community will continue to be provided in the district’s email newsletter, on social media and on the district’s website.

Thank you again for supporting our students and families, and our hard-working staff. Thank you, too, for believing that successful schools reflect on a thriving community.

Elroy Latzig

Chairmain, Central School Board

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