Vote for increase in school funding
October 27, 2006
After 15 minutes of working on a difficult math problem, a student raises his hand in an attempt to flag down his teacher for help. Ten minutes later his hand is still raised and his elbow is starting to ache. After 20 minutes he thinks, “Ah, screw it. By the time the teacher gets over to me it’s going to be nearly the end of class and he’s not going to have adequate time to help me.” His arm falls to the desk and he decides to close his math book.
This is an all too familiar scene in elementary, junior high and high schools across the nation. Schools aren’t receiving enough monetary aid from state and national governments. This forces them to increase class sizes, eliminate teaching positions, and eliminate busing for students within a certain radius of their prospective school.
The Forest Lake, Minn., school district is a prime example of underfunding. It doesn’t receive enough aid from the government, so it has to turn to residents within the district to get enough money to meet basic educational needs. To do this, the district has to propose a budget (called a levy) to the residents who live within the district limits, and they have to vote to pass it.
In the past, proposed levies to increase educational spending for the Forest Lake Area Schools have failed. If the levy does not pass this year, the con- sequences will be dire.
According to the Forest Lake Area Schools Web site, “200 staff/teaching positions, 1/5 of the total staff, will be eliminated. Average class sizes will increase by 10 across all grade levels. Busing within 2 miles of every school will be eliminated.”
This would be an extreme detriment for the students within the Forest Lake school district. These conditions would undoubtedly lead to decreased learning in every classroom. What could possibly happen in Forest Lake is not limited to that town alone. Everyone should be concerned about education on a national scale, especially River Falls students. River Falls is one of the leading teacher education schools in the nation, and many people will graduate from UW-River Falls with teaching degrees. These graduates should be able to find work and job security without having to worry about losing their jobs shortly after they are hired. More financially sound school districts means more stable, well-paying jobs for teachers.
The upcoming elections Nov. 7 give voters a chance to support education. The elections may be
focused on gubernatorial and senate races, but local issues should not take a back seat.
Most people feel a certain sense of nostalgia when they think about their hometown schools. Schools shape who people become in their adult years, and without adequate education there are bound to be far more adults working dead-end jobs. Making $7.50 per hour flipping burgers at the local McDonald’s will not keep an independent adult above the poverty line.
The way to avoid a fate like this for certain people is to offer a learning environment in which they can succeed.
The best way to keep education a top priority is to vote in support of it. Go to the polls this November and practice your civic duty by voting for government officials, but remember that voting for local education initiatives is one of the most important things a person can do to ensure that today’s youth become the successful adults of tomorrow.
Derrick Knutson is a student at UW-River Falls.