I am a proud parent of an Elkhart Community Schools student who benefits from an excellent core curriculum and a wide range of extracurricular programs, like sixth-grade band, robotics and Latin. I am also an educator who is honored to teach students from great families, a colleague of 900-plus admirable souls, and a supporter of Elkhart Community Schools' referenda.
I must add "disgruntled taxpayer" to the above list because it concerns me that the state budget continues to get larger and larger while school budgets shrink.
I pay my taxes hoping the money will be used wisely and efficiently to advance common good. I see evidence that this, in fact, occurs in Elkhart Community Schools. I find it heartening that our schools have a reasonable debt load, spend less than the state average for school administration, and have no unfunded retirement liabilities for either health insurance costs or payments to retiring employees. Also, ECS is one of only two school corporations in the state's largest 25 cities that has more than 65 percent of its students on free and reduced lunch and is rated an A or B by Indiana's A-F accountability system.
Because of a total reduction in funding of nearly $30 million since 2010, numerous budget cuts have been made in our schools. The full list of cuts is too long to thoroughly address in this space but is posted in the resources section at www.yes4elkhart.org.
Despite these reductions, money is unavailable to fund an adequate transportation system and maintain our buildings while keeping them safe.
In the May primary election, please vote yes twice to support Elkhart and our schools.