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Elkhart public schools need help coping with revenue losses

I believe that the education of our children is one of the most important goals we as a community and nation should support. But that support goes beyond our time and effort. It also requires our financial support.

Posted on March 31, 2014 at 11:44 a.m.

Yes4Elkhart is the name of a campaign spearheaded by a growing group of local citizens. We come from diverse backgrounds and livelihoods. Our commonality is a mission to raise awareness and support for the Elkhart Community Schools referenda.

On May 6, many of us will be voting on two referendum questions concerning Elkhart schools. The first concerns the transportation of Elkhart students to school. The second concerns the security of our school buildings and their maintenance.

Due to a cap on property taxes, the system by which our schools are funded has fallen short. Since 2009, ECS has seen a loss of over $5 million in revenue in 2013 and a projected revenue loss of over $6 million in 2014.

It is impressive but sobering to read the list of adjustments and reductions that the ECS corporation has made to cope with the revenue losses:

Pay reductions and freezes.

Schedule shuffling.

Energy conservation.

Staff reductions.

Delayed building maintenance.

Decreased bus transportation.

The entire body of ECS employees has played a part in keeping Elkhart's education environment viable.

I believe that the education of our children is one of the most important goals we as a community and nation should support. But that support goes beyond our time and effort. It also requires our financial support.

If we can't transport our children to school, if our children aren't housed in safe and secure buildings and if our schools can't be properly maintained, then the learning environment becomes substandard and the education of our children becomes increasingly difficult.

The referendum money won't solve all these issues. However, they will help to sustain and maintain what so many of us —parents, teaches and administrators alike — have worked so hard to create: an Elkhart Community Schools environment of which we can all be proud.

Please join with us, along with your family, friends and co-workers, and vote Yes4Elkhart.

ELIZABETH BOND

Elkhart


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