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Stephen Tiedman, Fargo, Published March 22 2014

Letter: ‘No’ vote will hurt Fargo students

In the March 11 Fargo schools mill levy vote, it was made clear that some voters were still upset with the creation of Davies High School and the whole Bluestem issue. It’s understandable for the voters to be upset; both issues were expensive propositions that probably should have gone to the public for a vote. The real problem is that voters are taking it out on the wrong group.

The recent vote itself had nothing to do with the creation of new facilities. The money that the mill levies would have produced would have helped fund the programs within schools that aid students. Programs such as special education, paying paraprofessionals, and others are now in danger of being discontinued because of the failure of the vote passing.

Paraprofessionals, or paras, aid teachers in the classroom with students who need some extra help to succeed. The paras give teachers the freedom to focus more on the curriculum and other students who, without paras, might not get the attention of the teacher because it would be needed elsewhere. Without the support of paras, teachers will find it more difficult to properly give every student the education he or she deserves.

Extracurricular classes would be the next hit, and then class sizes would go up from their current average. Having 30-plus students in a room with one teacher is not a good way to educate the students. Common Core is on the horizon, and the curriculum is a lot more rigorous than the current curriculum. Some students are going to need the extra programs that are in place or could have been in place had the mill levy vote passed. Who truly suffers? Who are some voters trying to prove a point to?

The students of Fargo have long had a history of helping out the community. The Fill the Dome program is run almost entirely by students. Food pantries receive major portions of their supplies from that. Then there is the spring when the Red River decides to spill over. How many times have middle school students filled sandbags? How many times have high school students placed those sandbags? Without their hard work, how many people would have lost their homes? And this is how the community repays them for their hard work?

There are some other voters who voted the mill levy down because they were afraid of property taxes going up, but that is not the case at all. Fargo Public Schools does not decide to raise property taxes. Had the vote gone through, all it would have done was allow the school district access to more mill levies to provide funding for much-needed services to the students.

When the mill levy vote comes again, please consider who really suffers from a “no” vote. It’s not the ones you really think would; it is the students of Fargo.