Tricounty News

Thanks for the nearly 500 'yes' votes

The "Your Schools, Your Choice!" campaign committee would like to thank the nearly 500 voters who showed up at the polls last week and voiced their support for Kimball Schools by voting "yes" on the operating levy referendum. We thank all those who got involved to help communicate the schools' current situation with the community.

Also, thank you to everyone who allowed our committee members to speak at their meetings and in their homes, read our campaign materials, placed yard signs in their front lawns, and encouraged community members to vote. You recognized the seriousness of the budget crisis facing Kimball schools. You recognized that Kimball's ability to provide a quality education comparable to other districts is an issue that affects us all.

Unfortunately, the levy referendum was defeated by 27 votes. Kimball will now spend 60 percent less, almost two-thirds less, on education than our neighboring districts. You can also look at it this way: neighboring districts will be spending 60 percent more on education than Kimball. The obvious question everyone is grappling with right now is simple: what does this mean for Kimball?

Not just what does this mean for the school, but what does this mean for Kimball? Kimball's future growth depends on its ability to attract new families and business to our community. Increasing our tax base will help ease the tax burden for all. However, it is difficult to attract prospective residents and business owners to our community when our school district is one of the worst funded in the state.

How can Kimball grow and evolve as a community when we spend 60 percent less on education than neighboring districts? If you had a family, would you consider moving to a district that spent 60 percent less on education than their neighboring districts? If you had a business, would you move it to the community that spent60 percent less on education than their neighbors? Still think it is just a school problem?

Kimball cannot keep making cuts to the budget indefinitely without it affecting the quality of education Kimball can provide. With more than a million dollars in cuts over the past several years, most would argue that it already has. Parents cannot be expected to sacrifice their children's education out of loyalty to a community that last week voted for Kimball to be one of the worst-funded school districts in the state. Being one of the worst-funded schools in the state is not a big selling point for our community.

Going forward, the school district will balance the budget next year by making cuts that will impact the quality of education Kimball can provide. After several years of cuts totaling more than a million dollars, it becomes increasingly difficult to find cuts that do not negatively impact the quality of education. So, in the day with open enrollment being an acceptable option for parents - where does that leave Kimball? Not just where does that leave the schools, but where does that leave Kimball?

The existing levy referendum, which does not bring in enough revenue for the school to avoid making painful cuts, will be up for renewal next year. The district will most likely ask you to again consider increasing the operating levy. The Web site Voting down the levy this year set us back considerably. Where we go from here is up to us.

As a school and community, do we want to stay competitive with our neighbors or are we just going to throw in the towel and admit defeat? Are we a once-great community that has seen its time come and gone, or are we willing to fight for our kids and our community?

Robin Dockery

For the "Your Schools,

Your Choice!" committee