Letters

Letters Support our children

To the editor:

During our comparatively brief time here, we have found Vermillion to be a warm and supportive community. We respectfully ask area citizens to extend these attributes to the children of our community, by supporting the "opt-out" vote on March 15.

Our reasoning is simple � the children of the Vermillion area deserve the very best public education we can provide. The rationale for an $800,000 opt-out is compelling. It will head off cuts in our public schools for next year of about $350,000, saving the jobs of many of our friends and neighbors.

It will head off even deeper projected cuts in the future. It will start to build reserves that have been drained by the state's refusal to cope with the higher costs of public education. Even with an $800,000 opt-out, school district reserves will remain well below the state's recommended level.

Tax increases are never pleasant, and they are often disproportionate. But for the well-being of our community, let us do all we can to support our children as they struggle to find their place in this world.

Donna L. Moen

Matthew C. Moen

Vermillion

Think hard about opt-out decision

To the editor:

Just a few words to those citizens who will be voting in March for the opt-out proposition. Enough already! How much more cutting, slicing, diminishing can we expect to have done to our school system and retain any semblance of the quality education we have always offered our children in the Vermillion community?

We have a combined 50 years of working in the education system because we believed in what was being done in our schools, the support of the community in the strengths and gifts of this superior educational system, and the excellent preparation our children received through the Vermillion Public Schools.

Our own children have been better prepared for life and further education, and have been given a positive attitude toward the need for education because of their formative years in the Vermillion school system.

Vermillion has continued to retain quality people who offer an excellent education and curriculum while being paid minimal wages in comparison to those of the rest of the nation. This caliber of teachers will doubtless be history if we continue to slash programs and positions until those few who are left are not able to continue to offer the quality education we expect of our staff and schools.

The amount our taxes will be raised is actually very small in comparison to the cost of living in all other areas of our lives. It is not as much, personally speaking, as a season ticket for the golf course. It is not as much as a season ticket to the USD sports programs or a long weekend in Minneapolis or Omaha.

Please give this a great deal of thought and be guided by wisdom in making your decision in the voting booth. Thank you.

Jerry and Pat Pratt

Vermillion

No to opt-out

To the editor:

I have been reading the letter from Joyce Zimmer. I am so glad she had the courage to inform us of the things she did. I would like to say thank you to her. I would also like to say she is a teacher who puts the needs of all her students first and that is an education.

I agree with everything she said. When do we start thinking about the academic needs of the students first? Sports have seen very few cuts if any; let's see some cuts there.

When do we see that we could cut costs by moving the administrative offices into the school buildings like they use to be? You know that was a good thing because as students we knew what these people looked like and could have a hands-on relationship with them and now they are in their own little world. Move it back to the high school and utilize fewer secretaries.

There could be cuts in janitorial pay. Why do we have a head janitor who makes more than teachers, and who if they have personal differences with an employee has a tendency to relieve them of their duties? That head janitor should be able to do some of the cleaning also in each of the schools.

If the school board has community committees giving them suggestions on how to cut costs without jeopardizing the students' education, why do they not take these suggestions to heart?

The message we are sending students is either you are a jock or you really don't count.

I agree with everything Joyce says except the part about opting-out.

I have grandchildren in this school system so I do have a concern about their education, but I am also a taxpayer with concerns. If we vote to opt-out, what will stop the school board and the administrators from using this tax money to support other things than the academic needs?

There is a letter being sent to residents around the town asking for donations for new bleachers for the high school gym. What is to say this extra money they generate from opting-out won't be used for that or more projects like that?

If we vote to opt-out, do you realize that this allows the school system to raise taxes as they see fit?

I will not vote to opt-out. I will not give the school board and administration to do with my tax dollars as they want.

Stand together Vermillion and make the school board and administrators accountable � insist they put academics first!

Respectfully submitted,

Roxan Brown

Vermillion

There isn't enough

Dear Vermillion voters:

It is obvious that no matter how the money in the Vermillion School District's general fund is partitioned, there is not enough money to adequately fund our children's education. Voting yes for the opt out on March 15 is absolutely necessary for the children in our community to receive a well-rounded, solid, public education.

I have lived, earned my undergraduate and master's degrees, and worked in South Dakota my entire life. My parents were poor. My father was a farmer, and my mother was a cook for a local restaurant. My grandparents were retired, owned their own home, and lived on a fixed income. Yet my parents, grandparents, and the people in the community provided a strong, solid education for the children. I participated in wonderful programs such as math contests, writing contests, gymnastics, declam, vocal music, music contests, etc., in addition to the regular education in the classroom setting. Parents did not have to send their children door to door to do fund raisers to raise money to support these and other programs. Administrators, academic programs, field-trips, extra- curricular programs, busing, etc. were paid for with tax dollars, tax dollars that do not separate "those who have" in a community from "those who have not"; tax dollars that pay for a well-rounded public education of all students.

I want my three children and other children in the Vermillion Public School system to see that education is as valued in this community as it was in the community where I grew up. Our good state and the citizens here feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in doing so much with very little, but there are limits to "making do." The voters in our district should not sacrifice our children's education and future for the sake of "making do" or for the sake of sending a message to our government officials that educational funding is inadequate or that allocation of funds is not appropriate. Making a child's education suffer to make a point is absolutely and fundamentally wrong.

We have a responsibility to provide a strong, well-rounded education for our community's children. Voting yes on March 15 is the only responsible thing to do.

Respectfully,

Clare Wagner

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