Share |

Letter to the Editor - Carl Hipwell

Article Date: 
21 June, 2013 (All day)

Dear Editor:
How important is the education of our children.  In our elementary schools we have one class with 35 children, six with 30 or more and 9 with 26 to 29 and our enrollment is growing every year.  How effective can a teacher be with so many students at this critical stage of their development?  I’ve had 10 boys in our scout troop and can’t imagine how a teacher can give adequate attention to 30 students.
There are two funds that provide funds for our schools.  First the capital fund that is solely used for buildings, grounds and upkeep.  Second is the general (instructional) fund of which 87% is for teachers’ wages and benefits, 3% for training 7% for textbooks and supplies, 2% for computers and technology and 1% for cleaning.  Not one penny has or can be transferred from the general fund to the capital fund as state law dictates.  When the economy faltered in 2010 the state legislature allowed school districts to transfer money from the capital fund to the general fund when they realized the reductions they made would be devastating to many of the districts.  They did this from 2010 thru 2012 and over these 3 years our school board transferred $1.42 million to the general fund to maintain the quality of education we’ve had.  This past legislative session the legislature ended this option.
Every cent of the revenue generated by the voted levy goes directly to Morgan School Districts’ general fund also mandated by state law.  This revenue doesn’t go to Salt Lake or Washington; it all stays right here where it’s needed.
Some people make you think that we’re rolling in the money which is far from the truth.  Utah is dead last in general fund spending per student, $648 behind Idaho which is next to last and $4,617 behind the national average.  According to the Utah State Office of Education report for the General Fund Revenue for fiscal year 2012 Morgan School District was dead last in all the school districts and only one of the 80 charter schools Maria Montessori Academy received $58 less per student.  Charter schools also receive 88% of their funding from the state.   As you can see we’re pretty much at the bottom of the barrel.  
Our teacher’s salary is $4,373 below the state average fourth from the bottom, but they do have better insurance coverage.  Even with this the teachers’ total compensation is $1,116 below the state average and I’ve never known of a house payment or groceries paid with a benefit.  Our Administrators average salary is also $5,152 below the state average.
My children received an excellent education here and the children today deserve every opportunity they had.  Before we came back home we lived in a place where we felt it necessary to put our children in private school at a tremendous expense because education is so very important to the success of our children and community.  It’s a highly competitive world out there and we should prepare our children the best we can.  We have fantastic administrators and teachers that go above and beyond to see that our children grow and succeed.  I don’t want to pay more taxes but this is a critical juncture in education in our valley.  We all know that we don’t have the businesses, second homes or industries most of the other districts have to share the load so a lot of it does fall on us.  There truly isn’t any other viable long term solution in my opinion.  We’ve been very fortunate over the years with school boards that have been very conservative but like Gail Miller said about education “It’s not do more with less, just do less”.  We’re the ones that have to decide what our priorities are and I hope the citizens of our community rally together behind education and vote for the levy, I know I will.
 
Thank you, 
Carl Hipwell