To the Editor:
So, this is what we've been hearing:
1. Fairmont Area Superintendent Joe Brown doesn't live in the community and doesn't pay taxes here.
2. We don't trust our school board. They keep coming back over and over and asking for more money - didn't we just have a vote to increase our taxes for the school?
3. Why not get back to the basics and get rid of "frills." The three R's are where we need to put our dollars.
Let's think about these three things: Would it be better for Joe Brown to own property within the school district? Probably. In an ideal world, that would be best, but we have all heard of circumstances in which a spouse has a job that requires commuting and gets home only for weekends. I know of a few residents in Fairmont who have a similar situation. Mr. Brown rents a place in Fairmont, so he is indirectly paying some taxes through his rent.
As far as trusting the school board - they themselves would say they are not perfect and have made some mistakes. Are they any different than you or I? Do you want their job and the responsibility that goes with it? Perhaps they deserve a thank you for the time and effort they dedicate to our youth. Do you really think that our school board wants to raise your taxes unnecessarily? For years, they have examined the curriculum and budget which has resulted in numerous spending cuts. At some point, those many accumulative cuts decrease the quality of education being offered to our students. School funding is complex and we need to know that the dollars raised for buildings cannot be used for basic classroom needs. Bricks and mortar do not an education make. A separate pot, the general fund, must provide for all classroom learning and extracurricular activities.
Now, what is basic education today? Is it a blackboard and chalk? Do we really need all those computers? Really. Just look around, and then imagine the technology our kids will need in their future. The basics of education are not the same - the world is changing rapidly. So much so that the cost of textbooks is exceeding the cost of a computer.
On a more personal note, when we were in high school (yes, it was come time ago), it wasn't the academics that kept us interested. It was the extra-curricular activities that helped us grow and mature. We learned the value of being a team member and working together as part of athletic teams. Camaraderie and cooperation were fostered as we worked toward a common goal with a "team first" approach. We sang in the choir and learned quickly that music was not a career option. We acted in plays and realized that talent was needed there also. Joining a science club opened up a whole new world, and I'm sure many of you had similar experiences with some particular activity. These extra-curriculars allow students the opportunity to explore and find things that "turn them on" and they must continue to be made available. The same is true for elective classes.
When people reminisce, it's not about eighth-grade history or 10th-grade biology. It's about teams, musicals, plays, proms, etc. Are kids really any different today? Don't they deserve the same opportunities we had? A yes vote on the upcoming referendum is not a vote for Joe Brown or the school board, it's a vote for the kids.
Dan and Mary Ann Kehrberg