Letter to the Editor

Reader: Is corporation facing budget woes?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

To the Editor:

Is the Clay Community Schools Corporation trapped by budget constraints?

Why are we trapped? Could it be because we are trying to operate an outmoded education system that wastes money? Why are we trying to operate as many small elementary schools around Brazil as it took before widespread use of the computer in the classroom instead of larger schools with smaller class sizes to meet the demands of the 21st century education at a cost that we can afford?

The administration's explanation that our last year's kindergartners made significant improvement or what is happening in other counties is "smoke and mirrors" that do nothing but try to blind the public to the problem. Last year, we had uncertified employees teaching at Clay City.

This year, Clay City doesn't have enough teachers, although they have three empty classrooms. That the kindergartners last year improved significantly is not relevant and even misleading. After all, if a student improved by 10 percent in a class of 30, how does that tell you how much improvement that student would have made if the teacher had twice the amount of time to spend teaching that student, one-on-one, in a class of 15?

Frankly, I don't think that some long time members of the board would be quite so happy with the parents' involvement if the parents read the minutes of past school board meetings and start questioning as to why the board members voted in such a manner as to lead us to this point. I don't think that they will be pleased, at all, if parents ask why, if the school board is for change, did they vote for a building project that does nothing to drive down class size and cut costs so we can afford to hire teachers, but maintains the status quo that was established in the 1950s and 1960s when our elementary schools were built. Times have changed!

Oh, I'm sorry, this was a school board meeting in Clay County and the parents were from Clay City. From past experience with Clay Community Schools Corporation, that's the end of the issue. The board heard, the administration explained it away and nothing will be done.

How are we "trapped' by a lack of funds if we are spending the taxpayer's dollars only on what is needed under the law? If every dollar is spent only on a justifiable need, there is a simple remedy called a referendum tax.

When a past school board stated that we could not settle the teacher's contract because we didn't have the money, why wasn't a referendum tax suggested? The answer is simple: The money we are spending now cannot be shown to be going for justifiable needs, period.

It's time to cut through the "smoke and mirrors" that says "everything is fine, we just need more money." It's time to start demanding that the school corporation changes to meet the needs of today and stops trying to hold education in this county in the 1960s.

Leo Southworth,