MY SCHOOL IS IN CRISIS!!

Tina - posted on 02/20/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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does any one know how we can help our school?? we have tried to pass a referendum unsuccessfully 3 times to increase the funding for our school. They have now announced at the school board meeting they are laying off 17 teachers and 11 support staff! We are a school of 1000 students! K-8th. They are eliminating ALL extra curric activities! If you have ideas please help!! People in our community just don't get it..

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Amy - posted on 03/15/2009

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Hi!  Just wondering how things are going?  Tmrw, Monday, we are beginning our 2 week "push" before the vote on April 7th for our school's Referendum.  So far, all the parents we have spoken too are in favor, if we can make sure they all turn out to vote, we think we'll be able to pass this thing!  But, we do have a pretty large older population that is against the Referendum, all they can hear is taxes going up, very frustrating, what happened to reinvesting in your community?!!  Our school Superintendent has told us that is VERY important the last 2 weeks not to lose momentum, that is usually when the people who are against the Referendum will start to do their dirty work (flyers on cars, mis-information in the paper, etc.) so we are working hard on some plans to combat that.  One idea that should work for you too is to have parents and community members in favor of the Referendum write letters to the Editor of the local paper, a letter can be printed EVERY DAY in support and could help.  We are also going to have a bunch of students with signs outside of the polling place, that can be very effective and a HUGE reminder of what's at stake as ppl walk into the polls to vote.



Anyway, lots of babbling, but GOOD LUCK :-)

Amy - posted on 02/23/2009

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Your situation sounds so similar to ours, only our school is much smaller.  Something needs to change with the formula for the State Revenue Caps, it's a very hard thing for some people to understand but that is why going to Referendum is so necessary for so many districts.  We too live in a very diverse area, we have quite a bit of poverty and it's hard to ask people for money during tough economic times, but, we hope that everyone can see the value of an education and a school that offers excellent programs, otherwise the students will head to neighboring Districts and open enrollment can kill a school quickly!  Good luck, I'm anxious to hear what is decided at the Board meeting. 



BTW, I like your profile pic, you look like a lot of fun :-)



Good luck!

Angie - posted on 02/21/2009

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I came from a very small school district and the only way for there to be extra carriculars was that parents paid a fee for their child to participate - $100 per sport. Our PTA also did some fund raising for the school. We could also give up to $400 per married family to the school district and we could right it off on our state income tax. Check and see if your state has a similar program. Does your school have a grant writer. There are several companies, including Newman's Own, that give money to schools in financial trouble. Good luck!

Sabrina - posted on 02/21/2009

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As a teacher and parent I think it's important to understand why the referendum isn't passing... is your school asking for too much money, does the public think that there would be a better way to make/save money, etc. There has to be something going on because knowing that 17 teachers and 11 support staff positions are being eliminated should be incentive enough for most people to pass the referendum...add to that the extra curricular activities and I'd think people would be doing everything in their power to save the school. I'm sure that the people in your community do get how important the school is maybe they need to be more 'educated' on what the referendum will do and WHY it's necessary... We're out of $$$ isn't a good enough reason in this economic nightmare...

Amy - posted on 02/20/2009

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Hi!  Our district is much smaller but is currently trying to pass a Referendum as well on the April ballot.  We aren't asking for much, just enough to keep our school functioning, nothing new, so we don't have to lay off teachers.  It's so frustrating as a concerned, and involved, parent!  We started a parent committee, which has almost doubled in size in the past two weeks!!!  We have made signs, we have weekly meetings and each parent is calling the parents of their childs classmates, anything we can do to help get the word out!  We also started a blog on the website, Blogspot.com, it's free and has been a great way to keep people up to date!  Hope this helps, good luck!!!

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Tina - posted on 03/22/2009

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Hello Amy, Sorry I haven't been on here lately. Your situation sounds just like ours. There is much debate in our small community between the yes voters and the no voters. So much so that they both have websites! The town is divided over this. We also have many seniors who are going through a very difficult time in this economy. We just passed a referendum for this same school last year for building and maintainance (to replace older part of building, remove asbestos, to match newer side of school). We the taxpayers will be paying for this for the next five years, so people are upset because if the school knew by 2009-2010 school year they were going to be $600K in the red why would they go ahead to try to pass the building ref last year? Raises were given that is also being questioned at a time when they knew they were going to be in trouble.. Anyway, I am still a yes voter but after all my research to understand the other side it has taught me a valuable lesson. We parents let this happen to our school. We have a 1000 students and only 2-3 parents go to school board meetings. This referendum has hopefully changed that. I like many others have made committment to start attending all school board meetings so we will know what is going on and where the money is going. Last week there was 25-30 parents. I have joined the PTO again along with a couple friends. Only five parents are on the PTO out of all those students..isn't that sad? Ashley is a 6th grader, so I was last on the PTO when she was in 2nd grade but was discouraged because the group at that time was very much a clique and liked it that way if you know what I mean...The board did pass to go for another referendum, our special election will be 4/28. However, we are voting to fill a couple spots on the school board on 4/7...so that should be interesting...because of this referendum there has been a couple of write in candidates... would really like to see that happen...we need change on the school board. We couldn't have the referendum vote on 4/7 because by the time the board voted it has to be posted 45 days before a vote ...Well, good luck on 4/7! Btw, we wrote letters to our local paper as well and that did help.

Amy - posted on 02/28/2009

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Thanks for the update!  Wow, 300 people turned out, that's amazing!!!  Hopefully there is strength in numbers!  It is important to work as hard as you can to get the word out, it seems like all it takes is one person to put the wrong information out there and it spreads like wildfire!  Having a website with accurate and up to date information is ideal!  If you have a school alumni website I'd recommend a link from that as well!  Also, see if you can get any seniors who are 18 to register to vote and also recent graduates, they are still able to vote in their parents district while away at college, so that could help too, they can fill out an absentee ballot!  Hope this all helps, don't give up, good luck!!!



 



P.S. isn't it our job as parents to embarrass our kids a little bit?!! 

Tina - posted on 02/26/2009

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Hello, well over 400 parents showed up to the school board meeting on Tuesday night! It was so hopeful to see so many parents. I have to say we believe the only way we were able to get so many people is because our comittee created a website. So by word of mouth we spread about the website and by Tuesday's meeting over 300 people had signed on for the ref. We have had three referendums and it was amazing to me how many people still didn't know the facts and didn't vote. Do not get me wrong, we still have many voters in this community who are against the referendum. They have good reason. Many do not trust our school board and feel there is not enough information made public. Admistrative raises were given in May knowing they would be in deficeit if the 1st ref failed in June. I blame us parents, if we aren't happy the way they are handling our budget we need to be at those school board meetings! I include myself. People are very worried about their taxes. We just passed a referendum two years ago to do maintance on the old part of the school which made the average taxpayer about $200 more a year. If they pass this one they are expecting our property taxes to go up about $290 on top of that a year. So I understand where they are coming from but...I do not want to see us lose 17 teachers and all of our important extra-cur activities. ttys



ps thanks for the comment, I have a 16yr old son and 12yr old daughter and she is begging me to change my profile pic because it is embarrassing!!!lol

Timmi - posted on 02/23/2009

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Oh this is so sad. Luckily we live in a community that believes in education and almost everything gets passed for education. I hope you can help to get your community on board to help out.

Tina - posted on 02/23/2009

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Thank you so much for your input. I will check into this... They are asking for $1.16 million over the revenue cap. That is how much our school is in the red. They say since 1992 they have not raised the cap on how much revenue a school can get from the state. While everything has increased to run the school, the cap has never increased with it. People in the community are upset for a number of reasons: 1st- administration still received their raises this year!, 2nd- this referendum is only projected to help of for the next 3 years, 3rd property taxes of course. We live in a very diverse area of various incomes and many people are hurting. The referendum in non recurring. I appreciate your posts and will update after 2/24 emergency board meeting.

Tina - posted on 02/21/2009

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Thanks Amy, I appreciate the comment. I will check out Blogspot.com! We are meeting this Tues. to decide if we will take it to referendum again for the 4th time. I have my doubts. Unfortunately the lay offs of 17 teachers is already a reality. Very sad...Tina

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