To the Editor:
Milaca Public Schools needs your support financially. A $1.02 per student referendum represents $160,000 in funding with over 50 percent covered by State Equity Funding.
I have worked as a school finance administrator for over 31 years and have enjoyed the time I have spent as the Business Manager for the Milaca Public School system. As I depart from this school and move onto another, I wish to convey the financial urgency to the public of your great school system.
In 20 short months, I have seen the enthusiasm, initiative and innovation this teaching staff, administration and school board has brought forth to educate your children. I have worked for 8 school systems in 31 years and this district has shown more drive and desire to be certain your children succeed than any other. That says a lot for your schools.
Other area schools are watching Milaca because of the All Day Every Day Kindergarten (ADEDK) program and the Technology Initiative. In the inaugural year of ADEDK, parents of 11 kindergarten students open enrolled from surrounding communities, 7 of which were retained into 1st grade. This translates to $42,000 of additional funding in 2011-12, and $48,000 in 2012-13 for the 7 retained students. Did that pay for the program? Not completely, but the decision was right for the students. It is the schools job to do what is right for your children.
The Technology Initiative is also being watched by other schools. It is off and running in Milaca and you can see the excitement from students and staff. The instantaneous teaching interactions, as well as almost immediate knowledge of results from projects, assignments and tests, help teachers see where assistance for students is needed much quicker.
With this also comes some savings in paper and printing, as assignments, tests and results are returned electronically. I personally have been impressed with this district’s technological advancement, which is far ahead of many schools and needs to continue to expand to other grade levels.
Citizens, the State and Federal governments are not going to adequately fund your school system. They have proven this over the last 20 years. The Federal government, by law, should fund 40 percent of national special education costs. In Minnesota, we receive less than 17 percent of those funds.
I urge you, on Nov. 6, to vote YES for a $1.02 per pupil renewal operating referendum for ten years. This $1.02 per student generates approximately $160,000 for Milaca Public Schools, of which state equity funding covers over 50 percent. On a $100,000 home, that translates to 22C tax per year.
I also ask you to:
1.) Contact your legislators (state and federal) to inform them how important it is to fund our public schools adequately.
2.) Don’t restrict your School Board. When the next operating referendum comes up for a vote, vote YES to maintain or increase the educational opportunities this district offers for your children. Voting YES allows the School Board to make clear decisions on programs and opportunities with the potential opportunity to lower the tax levy, if in the future the State and Federal government provided an increase in funding. Voting NO restricts your School Board forcing them to reduce already depleted budgets and staff.
3.) Come into the school and see the great things that are going on.
If you are interested in knowing more about school financial operations or issues, feel free to contact me at 320-290-7395 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than willing to answer or get answers to your questions.
Scott A. Nelson