I am writing you today to share my support for the Springfield school budget that goes to voters on April 30.

The world of education has been changing rapidly over the last several years. Springfield has been fighting a tough fight to keep up with the evolving government regulations, while at the same time working diligently to improve upon the education our children are receiving. We work hard to also balance the needs of both our district and the money constraints of our tax base.

The budget that goes to voters on April 30 has cuts in staff. We believe we can make the cuts and still deliver on our promise of a quality education and continue to make improvements. We have experienced a significant drop of kids from the current year’s budget to next year’s budget.

Depending on kindergarten enrollments and folks moving to or from Springfield, we estimate our counts to be down around 40 students. While we have made several cuts over the last few years, one might think we could cut more this year with this number of students lost, but it’s not that straight forward. While 40 kids is a lot, it’s not such a big number when you spread those losses out over 13 grades. However, these 40 kids do have a big impact on our per pupil spending numbers.

We are anticipating another dip the year after next, as well. Most of Vermont is in a similar situation because our school-age population is dropping overall. For Springfield, it is very important that we carefully reshape our district in a way that will reduce costs as we lose students, but do it in a way that does not take away from the education we are providing our students.

I give my word that we have been working to redesign our district to both protect and improve our kids’ education while also protecting our citizens from increased tax burden. I also give my word that we will continue to work diligently to align things so we can make further improvements while also minimizing any additional burden on the taxpayer in the year(s) to come.

I ask you to support our budget to ensure we can continue to be a strong district and give our kids the education they deserve.

Michael Griffin is a member of the Springfield School Board.

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