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Reader thanks others for signing remonstration

Sunday, March 23, 2008

To the Editor:

My thanks to the 150-plus taxpayers and voters who signed the petition requesting the application of petition and remonstration process to the Clay Community Schools Corporation's Elementary Facility Improvement and Security Program.

Due to their concern for our schools and our tax dollars, every taxpayer and voter within the school corporation will have a chance to be involved in the decision.

Our school corporation has a problem familiar to us all, that of there being too many ways to spend money than there is money to spend. However, the school corporation, unlike a family, doesn't do without going on vacation to pay for appliance or automobile repair nor is it spending money that would otherwise be profit.

The school corporation spends dollars taken from the taxpayer. It is up to the taxpayer, by way of electing the school board and participating in petitions, remonstrations, or referendums, to ensure that the money is spent wisely and to the best advantage to the students.

I hope to spark your interest in our school corporation. Education is vital to a person's success in our society and we pay for failure by having to support those who failed to meet the minimum requirement.

Clay City High School had a graduation rate of 87.2 percent last year while Northview had a rate of 73.7 percent. Some would say that those are good numbers, but I do not. They mean that we failed to adequately educate one out of every eight students at Clay City and one out of four at Northview.

Ninety-five percent of our General Fund is going to our employees in salaries and benefits. We have reduced teaching staff by more than 30 positions over the past six years. Seventy-five percent of our Capital Projects Fund has been used to cover the shortfall in the General Fund. Meanwhile, monies in other funds have been declared excess and placed in a Rainy Day Fund instead of being allowed to pass to the plans a large renovation project to make good the repairs that were not accomplished due to the use of the Capital Projects Fund for other things. The problem is that what the school corporation plans to do is based upon the opinion that only needed things will be done and only in the most cost effective manner.

A lot of people disagree with that when they are given the facts. As Mike Fowler said of the budget, "We need a new model," only we do not need just a new model to base our budget on, we need to have a new model throughout the school corporation. Everything, our personnel, our buildings, our equipment and our classes, needs to be justified as being required by law, required by curriculum that is required to support our diplomas, or required by practical necessity.

Leo L. Southworth,

Brazil