Sunday, August 10, 2014

Farmington High School
Tomorrow evening, Monday, August 11th, the Farmington School Board will be hosting a public forum as they begin the Budget cycle which will cover the first year of the Middleton withdrawal process. The loss of revenue from the Middleton children will but a strain on our school budget.  The meeting is at the Farmington High School Library at 6:30 PM.  All Farmington residents should watch this carefully and become active and involved in this process.

The task at hand seems overwhelming at first. How will we ever overcome the huge loss of revenue when Middleton leaves our District and keep the quality of Education in Farmington to the standards we have come to appreciate and expect?

It seems that much of the concern over this is because of the effect it will have on our tax rate. That is why the School Board is inviting every resident of our town to become part of the "solution".  I fear that the "solution" they seek is only how to keep taxes lower, not how to improve the education of our children and young adults.   Meetings are always open to the public, but this is a chance for us to offer our input about these decisions, ask those probing questions, listen to their reasoning, and hold them accountable for their decisions and rationale.

Again, it seems they are looking to cut "unnecessary" programs in order to save money.  As an educator, I can tell you, all programs are necessary, at least to some children, or we wouldn't have them at all.  It would appear they are looking at requirements over needs of our children.  That is never a good way to start, and it always ends badly for some kids who might need the extra help and support of a program that may be cut because it is considered "unnecessary".  We can allow the School Board to debate among the 5 members, many of whom only are there to cut the budget to keep taxes low, or they can receive our valuable input.  Hopefully, keep them focused on what our children need!
We must remind them that it is important to make decisions based on what our children need, not what our wallets want. The hardships both the school and town currently face has been the result of our representatives desire to keep our tax rate low.  They do not base decisions on what a positive, thriving community needs to compete with other thriving communities around us and attract new tax paying residents. If we want to lower our taxes, and we all do, then we have to bring more folks into the town. The only way to do that is to have good services, good schools, positive climates, and government leaders that consider the community over their own interests.
Unfortunately, I don't see a lot of that in this town. We lost Middleton for the most part because they believe that we can't provide an adequate education for their children. Regardless of the degree to which that belief is true, perception in communities trumps reality. So further slashing our education programs to make folks happy with their tax bills is not a way to invite new folks into the community and increase our tax base. We have to invest in our community in order to attract others here. We have to provide benefit for living here.
I ask that you take the time to consider attending the meeting.  Please think about your concerns for our education system, the importance that good schools have on the decisions of families to move into communities, and make your presence and thoughts known to the School Board.  This may be the first of several meetings , so you may have other chances to participate.

If you cannot make the meeting on short notice, please put this on your radar and watch for other meetings.  We lost Middleton because of selfishness and the budget slashing philosophy.  Now those same board members will seek to solve our problems by further slashing our education system to save money.  We can't let this happen.  Community minded folks are willing to support the community and all our citizens through the taxes they pay. Let's keep in mind that it is our kids that suffer when we cut services to the bone in our community.  Children are our future.  Their education and their well being should be the only basis for our decision.

School Board site: http://www.sau61.org/school-boards/farmington-school-board
Agenda:  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0pOXRTADnDNcWMxeUFUcWI3N2M/edit

Please consider passing this along to your friends and neighbors. 

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