To the Editor:
I consider myself a big fan of living in Fairmont. We choose to live and raise our family in this community. Part of what we love about this community is that our children are provided a well-rounded education.
One of my concerns is that if the school's referendum does not pass, that will no longer be the case. Last year, my daughter, who is in fifth grade, had 35 children in her class. I cannot imagine anyone facing the challenge of educating 35 children day after day.
I have personally seen what an unsupported school system can do to good teachers. It loses them. I also believe that families, who can choose, will choose other communities to raise their children if the school system suffers. Those families buy houses, shoes and groceries. They eat in restaurants, run the tires off cars and support our churches. The whole community will suffer.
I would guess that anyone reading this letter had taxpayers agree to pay for them to have the opportunities of music, art and athletics. It saddens me that for years my husband and I paid for other people's children to have music and art and the opportunity to try athletics, and now that my children are in the schools, that may not be an option.
If the school is not able to offer a variety of programs, the wealthy will probably not suffer. They will find other ways to provide those opportunities for their children.
It is the working class and at-risk youth who will suffer. I worked for 10 years with at-risk youth and can assure Fairmont citizens that those are the kids who will miss out. Those are the kids whom our community most benefits from having them involved. It gives them a reason to stay and be successful in school. It gives them the opportunity to learn what it means to work together, to strive for betterment of a team, to focus your energies on something positive, and yes to keep busy and stay out of trouble.
Art, band, orchestra and music teach our students how to listen, read and creatively think outside the box. Skills that will help them throughout their lives. These are healthy tools they can use to cope with the stressors life throws at them.
I realize it will affect our taxes. Another reason we appreciate living in Fairmont is that when we came here our taxes were one-third of what they were where we came from in Iowa. Fairmont's current levy is between one-half and one-third of our neighboring communities and far below comparable communities like St. Peter, New Ulm, Worthington and Albert Lea. Yes, I did the research and read the numbers.
I do not think the referendum is asking too much. I hope on election day we all choose to support our schools and Fairmont's future through voting yes for the school referendum.