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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Supporting Our Schools

I attended the Morgan County School Board meeting tonight. It was standing room only with no A/C on a day when temperatures were in the high 80s. Whew!

I was there to show support for the school board, administration, and members of a group that we belong to named For Morgan Kids. Parents and concerned citizens have organized ourselves into this group to actively campaign for the voted local levy. Two representatives from For Morgan Kids addressed the school board tonight. (You can learn more about For Morgan Kids and the issues at hand at www.formorgankids.com.)

Why are we putting ourselves "out there" in publicly supporting a political issue in a small community? Quite simply, because we believe this levy is the right thing to do for our daughters' education. We have studied the issues, and feel there are no other viable short-term solutions to the financial crisis our schools are facing right now.

One of the top two reasons Ryan and I moved to Mountain Green in 2009 was for the schools. We value life-long learning, and appreciate the role that the public school system plays in our daughters' formal education. 

We recognize that teachers play a vital role in test scores and graduation rates. In addition, we understand that teachers can be more effective with smaller class sizes, professional development days and other resources. We need the levy to help our educators have a more productive teaching environment.

My 5th grader has 34 students in her class. Research shows she may earn $30 an hour, which equates to $240 for an 8-hour work day. Divide that by 34 students, and she's earning $7.06 per student per day. In comparison, I pay her piano teacher about $10 for a 30 minute lesson once a week! Our public schools are the best bargain money can buy. But make no mistake...public schools may not charge tuition, but they are not free. Funding schools is the responsibility of tax payers.

We are at the bottom 15% of school districts in Utah in per pupil spending...and Utah is the lowest state in the nation in per pupil spending. Morgan County School District is at the bottom of the bottom. We can and should do better for our children and teachers. Much better.

Ryan and I do not like taxes, but this voted local levy is different. We have estimated that our property taxes will go up about $100 annually with the levy proposed for the 2013-14 school year. That's less than $10 per month, and most certainly affordable. We know that every dime will go to instruction for the Morgan County Schools that are educating our children.

We agree that Morgan County should do more to attract businesses to help alleviate the tax burden. However, that is a long-term solution and we have an immediate financial crisis in our schools. Furthermore, we don't hold our elected school board officials accountable for economic development in our community...that is not their stewardship.

In conclusion, there is this reason for supporting the levy...we feel a sense of loyalty to the local school system. 

Our children are the fifth generation attending Morgan Schools. Ryan grew up in Croydon, graduating from Morgan High in '95. His mom, Sherolyn Wilde, is MHS Class of '74. Her parents, Reed Wilde and Camille Fry, were officers for the class of '47. Reed's father, M.R. Wilde, was in the MHS class of '22. Go Trojans!

To the school board...thanks for governing our schools. You have a team of parents and citizens supporting this cause. You are doing the right thing.

And to Superintendent Ken Adams, thanks for all you have done for Morgan Schools during your career. Ryan and I congratulate you on your retirement, and wish you all the best for whatever the future holds.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Quote of the Day

Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” - John F. Kennedy