Utah is dead last in general (instructional) fund spending per student; $648 behind Idaho that is next to last and $4,617 below the national average.
According to the USOE report for fiscal year 2012, Morgan was last in all districts and all 80 charter schools with the exception of Maria Montessori academy which was $58 lower. Our instructional spending is basically the lowest in the country even thought we have the second highest median income in the state.
Over the years, our school board has worked miracles with the quality of education our students have enjoyed with our limited budget. Since 2008, when the economic downturn started, our district has lost $4,311,946 in instructional revenues. The sate realized this hardship from the lost revenues and allowed funds from the capital fund (buildings only) to be transferred to the general fund which our board did from 2010 to 2013 to the tune of $1.42 million to preserve the quality of education. The legislature ended this option this year.
Every cent of the voted levy goes directly to the general fund of the school district by law. We have a class of 35 children in our elementary school with 6 others over 30. This is way too many for elementary school and the voted levy will enable more teachers to be hired to alleviate this unacceptable situation.
The opposition is stating that we should all live within our means. Our school board has been struggling with reduced budgets for five years and we're already at the bottom of the country in general fund revenue. How much can they do before the quality is gone? The future of our children is at stake.
As Mrs. Gail Miller said about education "we can't do more with less, just do less." Those opposed have treated this like a dirty political campaign publishing untruths, questioning the board's character. They even sponsored a website that publishes what people are saying, but not publishing who said it when it's completely untrue and they know it's completely untrue, such as, that money has been transferred from the general fund to the capital fund, which has never happened and is against state law.
Their true colors were shown last Saturday night when three For Morgan Kids banners and numerous signs were stolen from our community, one from my yard.
We have great teachers and administrators who go above and beyond to help our children succeed. The teachers salaries are $4,373 below the state average and our administrators $5,152 below.
My children received an excellent education here and the children today deserve the same opportunities. Their future and the future of our community are dependent on the quality of education.
This levy is very much needed to support the needs of our children. It's not some last minute knee jerk reaction, as it's already used in 34 of 41 school districts. It's no blank check, every cent is fully accounted for. Our board has always been very responsible with our funds, just look at their past record. They were elected to do just what they're doing and there's no justification to think otherwise. This voted levy is by far the best short and long term solution to our problems. Who knows? They may even be able to lower our rates as was done before the downturn.
We have to decide what our priorities are. To me, the education of our children is of utmost importance and I hope the citizens of our community rally together behind education and support the future of or kids and vote for the levy, I did.
Carl Keith Hipwell