Opinion: Renewing special ed millage will help all students in Washtenaw County
We are writing to express support for your editorial supporting renewal of the special education tax millage, a tax equal on an annual basis to about .05% (one twentieth of one percent) of the market value of homes.
As parents of a daughter who attends Ann Arbor public schools and of a recent graduate, we are very grateful for the opportunities the schools have given both our daughters. They were able to study with energetic and committed teachers, to take challenging classes, and to learn with and from students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds.
The fact that both Pioneer and Huron high schools have repeatedly won awards for being among the best five or six high schools in the United States in music education, and that one high school has even been judged to have the best high school music program in the country, is just one of many indications of the extraordinary quality of the Ann Arbor public school system.
Recent and proposed cutbacks in state funding threaten the ability of the schools to provide this high level of education.
Over the past few years class sizes have already expanded and staffing levels have been stretched thin. A failure to adopt the millage is likely to seriously damage the ability of the schools to provide necessary services both to special education students and to other students, since by law the public schools must fund special education programs, even at the expense of making cuts elsewhere.
Renewing the millage is one way that Washtenaw County residents can maintain the quality of local schools. We hope that the citizens of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County will take the time to vote “yes” on May 3rd to renew this critical millage.
Eli and Caroline Nathans