Strong schools are necessary for a strong community. Our youth are our future. When voters vote down a school budget, it gives our youth the message that Springfield voters do not care for them. When it makes the news that Springfield is one of three towns in Vermont to vote down its school budget, it creates a negative message about our community: Springfield is a community that does not value education.
Springfield voters said “yes” to special warrant articles that amounted to roughly $908,000 (excluding the town and school budgets). Voters care for roads, taking care of senior citizens, preserving history, feeding and housing people, protecting people, providing support for people in recovery, people who need mental health support — but not its children, the future of Springfield.
I attended one of the School Board meetings after the budget was voted down and read the minutes of the meetings I was unable to attend. Believe me, the cuts were extremely difficult to make. Every position cut has an impact on the quality of our school system and the programs we offer. We cannot continue to do that. We are a town that is showing some grit and determination to pull ourselves up by the boot straps.
We are trying to attract people to Springfield. You do not do that by making our school system weaker and less attractive to potential new residents.
There are people who point to the cost per pupil and shout out we have fewer students but higher school budgets. Let’s compare that to households. I was sifting through some old papers and found phone bills that were in the range of $10-$15 a month. I remember not having to pay for TV at all. There were no computer charges to pay either because we did not have them. And then there is insurance, utility rates … I think you are getting the drift of what I am saying.
A strong community has strong schools. Please get out and vote. Get out and vote “yes” to our youth, to a strong town and to education. If you are unable to vote in person, call the town clerk’s office to see how you can vote by mail, 885-2104. Don’t give up on our future.
Char Osterlund lives in Springfield.