KAREN TURNBULL: How have our schools fared?

To the editor:

 While shopping today, I watched parents looking for the best deals on “back-to-school “ items with their children.   Next week the kids will start back to school.  Unfortunately, the public schools are getting the opposite of a “good deal”.  The Republican dominated legislature in Lansing has slashed more than $1 billion from our Michigan public schools to pay for a 1.8 billion dollar tax break for big corporations, including those that outsource our jobs.

How have our local schools fared? The State Aid Status Report compared what schools received in the 2010-11 year to now. Big Rapids Public Schools has $2,286,659 less to work, Chippewa Hills was cut $2,609,707, Crossroads Charter Academy lost $812,716, and Morley Stanwood loss $1,521,026.   This is over a $7 million dollar loss in 4 years for our Mecosta County public schools.

 How does this affect our community? These unfair cuts lead to many setbacks, but one of the worse is crowded classrooms.  Too many kids in a classroom make learning more difficult, especially with the high number of very needy children in our community.   When there are 30 or more kids in a class and 10 or more have issues that need extra care, all of the kids are affected.  It all starts in the first 3 grades, because if the children are not passing the tests, and feel like a failure – that will follow them through the years.  Teachers know how to stop most of this failure when they have the right tools and fewer kids in a class.

 So do we want to put our tax revenues into public schools to help kids be successful?  Do we want more of the kids to “slip through the cracks” that lead to welfare and prisons, which we also pay for with our tax dollars?  Do we want to give big corporations and the wealthy more tax breaks?

 Our Lansing politicians have the wrong priorities.  They should do the right thing and return the money they took from our kids.  Remember, these kids are the future.

That is why I am voting for John Ruggles for State Representative in November.   Ruggles knows that a good education is KEY for our children to grow up and get good paying jobs.  He is prepared to work on this problem in Lansing for our children.

Karen Turnbull


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