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Letter to the Editor - from Scott Duncan

Article Date: 
21 June, 2013 (All day)

Dear Editor:
Like some of you, I have chosen to serve our community by participating on different school committees (MHS Community Council, Morgan Education Foundation and MHS Scholarship Board) that hopefully add value to the educational experience of all of our children.  There are some amazingly smart and dedicated parents who give freely of their time and resources to enrich the educational experience of all of our kids in this valley.  We do not always agree on the best way to meet the needs, but for the most part everyone has the best interest of the kids in mind.  I think we work well together because we leave ego’s and personal agenda’s at the door.  We ask thought provoking questions, we learn the issues and then we try to put forth solutions that meet challenges head on.  Our job isn’t done when we walk out of a meeting.  These are “working” committee’s where we roll up our sleeves and spend countless hours taking action and executing the plans laid out in the meetings.  We work with very tight budgets.  We work hard to raise money, simply because we have too, and consequently are quite conservative in how we spend each and every dollar.  We work closely with the teachers and school administrators.  We feel their pain.  You can never really know that pain until you sit in their classrooms and virtually walk in their shoes.  In most instances we work with the School District Administrators and in some cases we sit side by side with School Board members to find solutions to problems.  We have learned first hand the uniqueness of being part of a school district in rural Morgan County, with an almost nonexistent tax base.  One day that will change, but only when we are willing to accept the fallout that comes with growth and development.  It’s called change, and many are afraid of it.  None the less this area has so very much to offer, but it comes at a price, sometimes a steep price.  It is a price that each of us must bear.  Do I want higher taxes?  No.  Can I afford higher property taxes?  I cannot.  So why do I support the Voted Local Levy?  Because from where I sit, it is the best short term SOLUTION to a long-term problem.  Let’s be very clear about something.  The VLL is not the end-all answer, but it is a real short-term solution that is needed now.  Those who oppose the VLL have become very proficient at propogating what I call the FUD factor.  They spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.  It all begins with certain half truths and then leads to veiled forms of borderline deception.  Case in point.  Last night I received a flyer in the mail.  On one side it stated that I have “the opportunity to voice my opinion”.  I’ve read the Constitution and I get that.  This is a truth.  On the other side of the flyer it states in smaller text that if the VLL passes that “I will no longer have a voice or a vote” (false).  It states further that the school board can raise my taxes (truth) without advertising or notifying me (false).  They call it taxation without representation.  What is this, the Boston Tea Party all over again?  Of course we have representation.  It’s called going to the advertised school board meetings and standing up and saying what you have to say.  Do you realize that last week the school board held their annual budget meetings which were fully advertised and open to the public?  Do you also realize that not one single person who opposes the VLL attended the meeting?  If the VLL does not pass, the sun will still rise on on June 26th.  But know this one fact.  If you have a third grader going to Mountain Green Elementary, your child or grandchild will be sitting next to 32 other students of which 2-3 will have major behavioral issues that dominate the teachers time and efforts.  Now imagine the quality education your child is going to experience!  This is real, as real as it gets.  Again, the VLL is a tax, no doubt about it.  It will cost you $2.18 per month for each $100,000 that your home is valued at.  The School District needs $358,000 this next year alone that will go toward four (4) specific needs.  Replacing three educators who have retired or moved, costs associated with special needs students, remediation for those struggling in math and lastly to address state mandated standards and testing.  This is not conjecture, it’s fact.  The time to vote is almost here.  What will you base your vote on?  Will it be the FUD factor that you read about or hear about that has run rampant these past few months?  Or will you call a teacher you can trust, or your local school board member and ask specific questions about specific needs.  Get educated and then do the right thing for you, your family and your kids.
 
Scott Duncan
Mountain Green