School enhancement tax: Yes vote needed to ensure a quality education
I want the best education possible for my kids, for your kids, for everyone’s kids.
To me, that education includes being taught by a combination of highly-educated veteran and newer teachers, all of whom are well-trained in the latest educational methods.
It includes attending school in a setting that hosts a diverse population, whether the diversity is based on racial, socioeconomic, or special needs factors.
It includes offering extracurricular activities which prepare students to become better citizens, whether in student government, journalism, or service groups.
It includes providing academic challenges appropriate to each student’s ability, such as advanced placement classes in high school or multi-age classrooms in elementary school.
Are these elements essential to the public schools? That point will always be debated. The fact is, these elements have become practically synonymous with the public school experience.
Yet, bit by bit, many of these components are being watered-down, eliminated, or priced out of the reach of many students.
What will remain? One-size-fits-all, bare-bones education, which is likely to contribute to even more children being “left behind.”
Is public school supposed to be like this?
I want our children learning in a positive environment, experiencing the joy of learning about the world around them, challenging themselves and being challenged.
The State of Michigan has locked schools into increased academic requirements without providing adequate funding for the implementation of them. Public school budgets are at the mercy of the state’s economy, the priorities of its legislators, and laws which dictate such things as retirement costs.
Public schools have few options available to them for increasing revenue. But voters in the Washtenaw County area have the opportunity to help. By passing Proposal I, the Regional Enhancement Millage, the 2 mills collected over each of the next 5 years would be divided equally among the number of students in the area.
Each of the 10 public school districts would use that money to help fill the budgetary gaps in its general fund.
While this money will not solve the tremendous budgetary challenges that all Michigan public schools are facing, it will help. It will help preserve the programs that make each district special. It will help ward off receivership, and allow districts to retain local control. It will help show businesses that education is important to us here — and that is something that both keeps businesses around and attracts new ones.
Most of all, it will help provide the best education possible for all our kids.
Please vote YES to Proposal I on Nov. 3.
Amy Doyle is a resident of Ypsilanti and has two children in the Ypsilanti Public Schools. She is a former Ypsilanti Board of Education trustee, and is a longtime advocate of public education.