State has failed us, so we must act
Mr. Tobin and Ms. McNeilly, in the broader debate, I respect your organization and its goals. But here in Itasca, Springfield has failed us, so we must act.
Itasca is a small school district, and we parents stay closely involved.
We attend school board meetings and ask questions. Our school board is made up almost entirely of District 10 parents. This is a conservative town. These families are fiscal conservatives who would no doubt agree with your organization nine times out of 10.
Among local families, this referendum has overwhelming support. Most of us chose Itasca in large part for its excellent schools. When we bought homes here that was part of the bargain, and we expect that contract to be honored.
Itasca residents have remained closely involved in this Springfield-caused budget nightmare. We've pushed the school board to make tough decisions, cutting programs and RIF-ing many good teachers. Two years ago our teachers accepted a pay freeze to save several programs. Now those programs, and many others, face elimination once again. This is not for a lack of fiscal responsibility. We pay the lowest property taxes of all the Lake Park feeder districts, yet our students have some of the highest test scores. Even if this referendum passes, our property taxes will still be the lowest. We're proud of how efficient District 10 is: lowest cost-per-student, with the highest test scores.
I assure you, no one in our little town is "lying" in order to "line their own pockets," (as you were quoted saying in the Daily Herald.) There are no bureaucrats here, only concerned parents. I encourage you to read the budget and familiarize yourselves with the district history. If you find waste, I'm sure the school board would welcome your input. But I think what you will find, instead, is that your efforts would be better served elsewhere.
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