Angela Schulz, Published October 15 2010
When we support our schools, we support our communityMoorhead High School celebrated its homecoming last week. It was a chance to gather and celebrate the Spuds. And there is a lot to celebrate.
Did you know Moorhead High School was named one of the top 1,600 high schools in the nation based upon advanced placement tests? In addition to top-notch athletic programs, the school’s organizations and clubs continue to make us proud. For example, the Economics Challenge Team placed first in the state recently, Horizon Middle School’s Destination Imagination team placed 15th in the world, and Moorhead High’s production of “Peter Pan” garnered four Spotlight Musical Theatre awards by the Hennepin Theatre Trust. The honors go on and on. Moorhead schools are great places to educate our children.
So why is it that Moorhead is among just 10 percent of school districts in the state that do not have an operating levy referendum? That’s the bottom 10 percent in local support for schools. Is that the message we want to send?
It would be nice to think the state could keep funding our schools at the levels with which they’ve previously funded them. But it doesn’t add up. State funding is diminishing. It’s unfortunate for all districts, but 90 percent of them are able to get a little extra help from their voter-approved operating levy authority. Basically, that means in addition to the state per-pupil funds, these local dollars are given per student to support their education. This school year, the average amount local districts provide through operating levies is $848 per student. Next school year. that amount rises to $936. Moorhead is asking for $850 per student through this referendum.
If the levy doesn’t pass, additional staff and program cuts are coming. Count on it.
If this were just about the schools, that’s one thing. But this is so much more than that. This is about supporting our community. The numbers don’t lie. When we support our schools, we support our community.
In March 2002, district residents approved a building bond referendum election. The funds were used to renovate schools and to build two new buildings.
The new and newly renovated schools helped to halt declining enrollment by spurring significant housing growth. Efficiencies in operating costs were realized by moving from 11 buildings to seven buildings.
Many of us wore orange and black with pride during homecoming week. We got behind the Spuds on the football field. Now it’s time to get behind our schools and our community. Vote “yes” on Nov. 2.