Dear “Prop Learn” voters

A letter to those who voted “no” on the latest tax levy

Prop+Learn+is+the+third+attempt+at+an+education+tax+levy+for+the+district.+It+lost+on+April+3+by+approximately+500+votes.+

Prop Learn is the third attempt at an education tax levy for the district. It lost on April 3 by approximately 500 votes.

Dear everyone who voted “no” on Prop Learn,

 

I don’t think you’re all horrible people. I’m sure, when you walked into that voting booth, you didn’t think, “how can I make life a little more difficult for every high school in the area?” There are lots of valid reasons to vote no: maybe it was because you can’t afford a tax increase, maybe you disagree with the district’s financial decisions, maybe you just saw that your taxes would increase and decided your money was more worthwhile to you than the community around you.

Besides, your vote didn’t even matter, right? How much could the district even need this levy? You couldn’t see the repercussions when you looked at those boxes and picked “no.” All you could see was what it meant for you: an increase in taxes. And who in their right mind would voluntarily raise their own taxes, especially if it didn’t even benefit them?

But the fact of the matter is that this “no” will impact you. If you and all the voters from other districts continue to check “no” on these education funds, you will see the cracks begin to form. As a student, I see them every day I go to school.

I see your vote in the kids sitting in the very back of classrooms, crammed at a table because there are no desks left for them in rooms packed past capacity. These multitudes of students fall through the cracks forming as teachers lack the time to work individually with every one of their 120-plus kids, allowing students to struggle silently without notice from the teacher simply because they are so outnumbered by the sheer amount of students they must teach.

I see your vote in these same exhausted teachers, working harder than they’ve ever had to for frozen wages, doing everything they can to help their multitudes of students for far less than the pay they deserve. Some work part-time jobs outside of school, most have families, all teach day after day. They come in early and stay late, teaching more and more students as budget cuts cause their co-workers to lose their jobs and don’t allow for more help to be hired to ease the armfuls of essays and homework assignments they take home every night, enormous enough to deter them from even assigning essays for fear of how daunting a task grading them will be, causing students to lose valuable practice – all because there’s not enough money to go around.

I see your vote in the newly imposed activity fee, requiring every student who joins any sport or club, regardless of how big it is or how expensive it is or how often it meets, to pay 40 dollars simply to participate. I see it in the stressed faces of kids who don’t have 40 dollars to spare and are now being threatened with being kicked out of their favorite club, a reason for them to come to school every day. I see it in the pained faces of parents who want their child to be able to participate, who want them to be in extracurriculars to help with their college resumes, but who now aren’t so sure because they can’t pay the price. I see it in the money coming from students’ own pockets to make up for what money was cut from the district itself.

I see your vote in the fear and rumors that haunt the school, in the talk of other schools that had to face budget cuts and then cut this team or that one, schools that stopped being able to afford an art program or a music program or new textbooks for the science classes. I see it in the students who worry that their team, their club, will be cut next, and in the already-faulty equipment that the school doesn’t have the money to repair or replace, like the broken computers in labs or the beat up books in English classes. I see it in the fear that there won’t be enough money to fund my favorite clubs anymore or that the ones who already don’t have enough money to function will be cut even further to make more room in the budget for bigger activities, or even just basic necessities. I see it in the decisions the district has to make, sacrificing one thing for another because money is tight.

Where you checked that box, where you saw nothing but a tax raise, I see the faults of public education, of a district in which budget cuts happen year after year. Those of us who have to face the consequences of your “no” every day see your vote in these snowballing issues, each one adding up until eventually, we will have nothing left.

I’m sure you had your reasons for picking “no”, but those reasons aren’t enough to fill in the cracks forming around us. Those reasons can’t fund a district. Those reasons can’t help every child from the age of five to 18. Only a “yes” can do that.

 

Sincerely,

 

Those who feel your “no” every day.