Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Failure to pass Concord referendum will hurt students

Simply put, if we don’t pass the referendum on May 6, starting this fall many additional teachers will be laid off and many more important programs will be stopped, damaging both the quality and types of education available for the kids who attend Concord.

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 5:53 p.m.

When our kids were young, we moved to be back in the Concord the school district because of what it had to offer our kids. Now, as my youngest is set to graduate this spring, the easy thing would be to say that school problems are no longer my problem. Except that I have always been taught not to be self-centered, but to think “past the end of my driveway” and to do what is best for my community, both now and for the long run.

At Concord, the amount spent per student has been reduced each of the last five years. To achieve these savings without comprising programs, the administration has done standard belt-tightening things that we would expect. They delayed capital expenditures (like replacement of older buses), kept labor costs down (minimal raises, no new teaching staff to replace retirees), eliminated field trips, absorbed larger class sizes, and held off on replacing out-of-date computers.

Then, after all of these cuts, Concord was told that it would get $4.2M less then budgeted and approved by the state — not for some distant future date, but for calendar year 2014.

So here we are. The shortfall is too big to be solved by additional belt-tightening and the time is too short for major structural change. Simply put, if we don’t pass the referendum on May 6, starting this fall many additional teachers will be laid off and many more important programs will be stopped, damaging both the quality and types of education available for the kids who attend Concord. This is not what is best for the school or the community. It is time to think past the end of your driveway and vote yes.

LARRY SHANK

Elkhart


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