To the Editor,
A few days ago, my daughter who is a fourth grader at Herrick Park, brought home a paper from the Herrick Park PTO. It was entitled “Supply Shower.” This paper was requesting students to bring in supplies for their teacher; copy paper, pencils, scotch tape, tissues, and dry-erase markers. I purchased the items today and will send them to school tomorrow.
This would ordinarily be a sign of tough times when the school administration at Herrick Park must reach out to the PTO, who in turn, reaches out to parents to fund basic school necessities like paper and pencils. However, I find it RIDICULOUS and INFURIATING that parents are being asked to provide basic necessities when the Superintendent and school board are leading the charge to further burden this school district with debt to fund the new football field and track. Last week, the discussion around the $85,000 spent on exercise equipment was mind-boggling. Kids throughout the district are having to share books that are outdated and tattered while the board spends $85,000 to upgrade their exercise equipment? Unbelievable! I’m guessing that close to 1,000 new text books could have been purchased with that $85,000.
Right now the school district is operating with the expectation that there will be a $500,000 budget shortfall this year. If there isn’t money to operate the school district now and parents are being asked to provide basic needs, how can the budget support the interest payments alone on the additional $1.6 million worth of new debt ($2.1 million - $500,000 that will be deducted from the emergency fund) not to mention the additional expense to maintain the new facilities? At the last school board meeting, Mike McAran responded to the question on how he was able to pay for his own children’s college education by saying “I made wise investments”. Well he certainly isn’t applying that investment savvy to this district.
When is educating our children going to be at the forefront of school board initiatives instead of looking for ways to fund extra-curricular activity? Was the school board elected to oversee the education of our children or were they elected to develop athletic facilities?
After this inevitable football field debacle is settled (surely by the school board stuffing this unnecessary burden down our throats), can I expect the PTO to send a paper home next year entitled “Energy Shower” where parents are requested to send money in order to keep the lights and heat on?