On February 28th we are being asked to vote in favor of a referendum that will raise our taxes every year starting in 2014 through 2017 by the school district. Possibly more if the school sport program (part 2 of the referendum) passes also. Everywhere I drive in town I see signs supporting this referendum and asking us to vote yes. What I don't see or hear is any opposition to this referendum whether it be signs or news coverage. That concerns me. So with all due respect and in the interest of fairness I am submitting a different point of view for your consideration.
You printed that the school district said when the recession hit they suffered massive cuts. I submit to you so did the rest of us. Layoffs were high, people lost their insurance benefits and people suffered all over because of the economy and some still have not recovered. The state of the economy has hit many families hard and they are struggling. The article said the average homeowner will see their taxes raised $18.96 PER MONTH and it will continue in steps until 2017. What the article did not say is what were the steps, how much will it end up costing the average homeowner per month when all is said and done. It will go up even more if part 2 of the referendum passes to support the sports program. I know that may not seem like much if that is the only increase that has happened over the last four years and will be the last increase over the next four years. The reality is that is not the case. Families are being hit with more tax increases as well as hit with increases in their insurance policies because their companies have changed plans to adapt to the new economy. Personally speaking my family has seen about a $3,000 increase in our insurance plan we have to pay out of pocket and we feel grateful my husband's job gives us benefits. In addition to that and all that we need to adapt to people have seen a decrease in their paychecks. This makes it even harder for people to dig yet again into their pockets and take more money out of their household budgets.
I understand education is important. The welfare of all of our children is important and we want them to succeed. According to Student's First (the organization started by Michelle Rhee...www.studentsfirst.org) Delaware received a C- when compared nationally on an educational level. Yet, the Appo school district tests among the highest in the state and can rival national statistics according to the presentation I was at given by the school superintendent. That says to me despite our deficit we are doing well and our students are just as competetive as any other school. I am also aware that education starts in the home and has a lot to do with the family and the ambition of the student. I believe every child is capable of great things if you believe in them as demonstrated by students like Elizabeth Murray who was homeless and still managed to get accepted into Harvard.
Page 2 of 2 - I know there is no easy answer and there are trade offs regardless of how this is voted on. Shame on the government for not making education and our kids more of a priority. THAT has to change and we must pay attention and vote in the right people that will change that and put students first. Asking the community to dig in their pockets again and take money out of their household budgets does not seem fair to me and even less fair to those people doing everything right and still struggling financially.
I would never tell anyone how to vote. I simply would ask this: Question! Ask questions and educate yourself about the pros and consequences to voting yes on this referendum and then vote your heart. Be part of the process and vote. Personally, aside from the issue I feel the process is just as important and part of that process is hearing both sides to any issue. Don't accept one point of view as fact and be told how to vote. Don't assume this is already a done deal and this is how things should be. Question and vote.
I'm sure this is an unpopular stance but I respectfully ask you to consider another point of view. I thank you for your time and consideration.