Former Delaware blogger and long-time Christina School District Board of Education member John Young asked me to share his thoughts on the Christina referendum taking place tomorrow. I’ve written a bit about the fallacies of the opposing side of the referendum, but it is equally important to share why voters should say yes tomorrow:
Christina Referendum: This tax is an investment, not an expense.
500 words. Seems like a short way to communicate such a long story. Wednesday, our district will be seeking an operating tax referendum. I cannot overstate the importance of winning this tax increase. Our students, who come from all over New Castle County, like all students, deserve the very best. Of that, I am sure I would find very little resistance. Our district last passed a referendum in 2010 and in the 6 years since, many of our operational costs have risen: supplies, energy, and transportation: all outside of our classrooms. Our teachers have maintained their amazing professionalism despite no meaningful increases whatsoever. Our principals? The same. Our district administration: far fewer than in 2010. Supplies: a daily fight it seems. We have leaned out as the purchasing power of the monies from the 2010 referendum have diminished.
It has been a meaningful 6 years. Christina has been involved in a few scrapes with the state and has recently established a board policy supporting our parents in the arena of having control of statewide testing for their students while protecting our students from school closures and Education Management Organizations that the Delaware Department of Education was openly advocating for in 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015.
On the other side of all the adult battles and state based concerns is the one constant that never changes: our students. They are the ones we seek to serve. We have plans to improve their experience with a successful referendum: school climate, academic programs, and innovative school choices will all receive an introduction of intellectual energy that will be married to what the community seeks in its schools. I am committed to ensure that all the promises of this successful referendum are faithfully executed. As an elected board member, I will hold the district publicly accountable in public settings for honoring the directions proposed in this referendum. Our students must not suffer another round of devastating cuts that we were forced to impose after losing our referendum attempts last year.
On that score: Christina owes you more: more choice, more achievement, more opportunities, more community, more value, more diversity, and most of all: more transparency across all of those domains. Christina students are amazing. Let’s show them how much we value them and their one shot at an education. Let’s demonstrate that we, as a community, understand that public education is a sacrosanct American institution, controlled locally by virtue of our Constitution’s fierce 10th Amendment. Let’s support that local responsibility with a local investment.
I promise to continue to deploy all available and necessary energy to protecting the institution of our local public schools, and with your help, improve them. This is not a plea to remind you of the possible ramifications of a Christina loss, this is a call to encourage you to do what those before you did FOR you: support our students.
Whew! Four hundred and eighty-seven words.
Here’s ten more: Please vote Yes on the Christina Referendum on March 23rd.
John M. Young
Christina School Board