To my Springfield community, I am so appreciative to you for allowing me to represent you once more for another term on the school board. This is work that I not only enjoy but welcome the challenges that it brings.

Now, our most important work is presenting to you and passing this current budget to educate our children. Our budget will need only $7,279,378 from local taxes. This investment in our future breaks down to $3,422,818 from residential taxes. This year, the residential tax rate has increased just slightly over one penny. The non-residential taxes will be $3,856,560. The remainder, and bulk of the budget, $24,212,836, comes from state and federal funds and grants. I urge you to vote in favor of the school budget on April 30.

Over the past several years, the district has eliminated many positions and become more efficient in areas such as administrative positions. One example is our plant and buildings administrative position that has been eliminated and blended into the financial officer position. Both of those positions include mandatory expectations to respond to federal and state laws.

While some positions are cut, we have needs in other areas. Our schools are now the social services network and provide in-depth services that have historically been provided at home or by the state’s human services. There is a significant cost the schools and taxpayers bear in doing this which we must do. We now provide to those needing breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner; mental health services; dental and medical care programs; extended child care; homework support; and meals at home for the weekends and on vacations.

In the meantime, education continues to change in dramatic ways, but one thing that has not changed is that we have not added a single minute to the school calendar in over six decades.

In closing this letter, I want to use a quote from Jamie Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone.”

“The contract between our communities and our schools has changed. It’s no longer ‘help us teach our children, it’s ‘raise our kids.’ No generation of teachers and administrators in history has had to fill this mandate in each year to prevent how the pressure grows. Social and economic conditions demand that we unfold the full potential of every child. Our futures are tied to their successes as never before but this is the job for all of us. Everyone in every community must help remove the obstacles to student success. We must recognize our common interests, and do our part to help our schools create the graduates and citizens we need. Our schools cannot do it alone.”

Jeanice Garfield is a member of the Springfield School Board.

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