Letter to the Editor: Raise taxes to support schools

Editor:

For all of those who oppose a tax increase to fully fund the Shenandoah County school budget I have a question to ask. Do you know what education looks like today?

Children go to school so that one day they will have the proper skills to contribute to the success of our society. When we support schools in our community, we are supporting the generation that will be our neighbors, colleagues and caretakers.

Years ago, many special needs students were institutionalized. Today, all children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education to be served in the least restrictive environment. By law, our county must offer services that include funding special education teachers as well as occupational, speech and physical therapists.

Years ago, it was uncommon to have a student in class who did not speak English. Today, over 30 percent of our schools’ students do not speak English as their first language.

Years ago, classroom space was not used for special needs students, English language learners, reading specialists, behavioral specialists, school counselors, technology rooms, music rooms, or art rooms. Capacity is based on the number of students a building can hold, not why/how that space is used.

Years ago, we all walked five miles to school and back. Today we have a fleet of buses that need to be maintained to safely transport children to and from school.

Years ago, a computer was for the privileged few. Today, we have a vast amount of knowledge right at our fingertips. With information technology becoming increasingly important in the workplace, we need to prepare our students to be effective and support 21st-century learning.

Education today encompasses much more than it ever has. We cannot keep turning our heads and looking back toward the past. Together, we need to move forward and support our schools, creating proactive solutions to a growing crisis. As a citizen and taxpayer, I am asking that my taxes be raised so the Shenandoah County Public Schools 2017-2018 budget will be fully funded this year and in years to come.

Pam Kassis, Woodstock