Letter: Vote yes, yes for a strong futureIt’s not often we feel strongly enough about an issue to write a letter to the editor.
By: Jessica & Jason Overman, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
It’s not often we feel strongly enough about an issue to write a letter to the editor. However, this is an issue that goes straight to the heart of why my family moved to Red Wing, and will be the strongest influence on other families like mine making the same choice.
Red Wing has a lot to offer both families and businesses. We first visited for a bike race in 1997 and were struck by the incredible scenery and vibrant downtown. However, when it comes to choosing a place to move a family or a business. one key factor is always the same: good schools. It was the primary reason for why we moved here from the Twin Cities. Schools form the backbone of a community.
Studies show that school quality is consistently one of the top three factors businesses consider when choosing locations to open or expand. A well-educated workforce leads to higher productivity and lower turnover.
In 2001, Minnesota changed the way it funds schools. Local communities are now responsible for funding a much larger share of the school budget, and referendums are the norm.
Without a consistent funding stream, schools are forced to make significant cuts and increase class sizes. Since the change Red Wing has been forced to cut $8 million and is in the bottom 30 percent of Minnesota schools in administrative costs. Every facet of the budget has been trimmed to the bone.
This fall there are two referendum questions on the ballot. If neither passes, the Red Wing will be forced to cut an additional $2.1 million from the 2009-10 budget.
The first of the two will simply maintain the status quo, and the second will allow the school to hire additional teachers and reduce class size. Red Wing currently has larger classes on average than neighboring communities. Studies have shown that reducing class size is the single most important factor in improving student performance and retention at all levels.
By voting yes on both referendum questions you are voting for a strong future for Red Wing.
Jessica & Jason Overman