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Tech levy appears to lack community support | Letters | Oct. 8
I’ve been surprised lately, talking with parents with families like ours, at the lack of support for the proposed extension of the tech levy. We are parents who have benefited from education, we have young children, we are all committed to public education and, for the most part, our kids have all had good teachers. Why, then, the lack of support, the almost automatic “no” when I ask them how they are voting?
One reason is tight family budgets. Everyone is cutting things out, and no one expected that this extension would come so soon, almost so automatically. They thought that having voted a special levy for purchases four years ago they might be done for a while.
The second reason is that we don’t know what difference it will make. Our kids do pretty well in school, most of us spend a lot of time reading with them, we see a lot of work sheets coming home, and we just don’t know what difference more wiring and software will make in our kids learning, especially now that they have “smart boards” in their classrooms.
Third, we feel a little taken for granted. Sell us, tell us, persuade us! Both the “laptop levy” and the first vote to replace Wilkes School went down to defeat for lack of dialogue between the district and the community. This proposal has the same lack of communication.
I worry that this lack of communication, of vision and accountability for what difference the spending will make, may undermine long-term support for our public school system.
A school board member told me, “We only need 51 percent to pass this measure.” That means that 49 percent of this community could be opposed.
Defeated minorities have a tendency to grow, particularly when they feel wronged for lack of communication. If we are going to move forward as a community, we need a strong consensus for new spending measures, and that requires a much stronger case than what I’ve read and heard.