Letter to the Editor: School funding no laughing matter

Editor:

How disappointing it was to read that Mr. Richard Walker is continuing what I hoped was an outgoing trend of disrespect for our educational professionals. The challenges our schools are faced with are certainly no laughing matter.

Belittling the public comments of a constituent in a public work session to further push the harmful narrative that long-ignored school funding requests are “absurd” is certainly not funny.

He likened our schools and the hard work of our dedicated professionals to a “daycare center” while in the next breath claiming to “always treat them (teachers) with respect”.

The disconnect between Mr. Walker and our schools is so glaring that he fails to understand why the “light bulb” example given at the hearing is so important. When our schools are forced to make what seem like impossible choices due to lack of funding, things like light bulbs, paper and science lab materials suddenly become gut-wrenching decisions. When our schools are forced to decide between buying a ream of desperately needed copy paper or new light bulbs for the athletic fields, it’s not funny. It’s no laughing matter when our teachers are forced to pay for their own classroom supplies because reading specialist resources are also needed.

Already disproven with facts made available to the public, every excuse, assumption and accusation under the sun (mismanagement, top-heavy administration, required pre-k, etc.) is hurled at our schools, year after year, as justification for an unwillingness to simply acknowledge inadequate funding.

This isn’t just about a light bulb. This is about every sacrifice our schools have to make just to get by, and it’s disgraceful that any elected official would ever trivialize such a thing.

It’s time to sift through the fake news, cherry-picked statics, conspiracy-theory rhetoric and the excuses. I implore our supervisors to finally break the cycle of chronic negligence and disrespect, fully fund the school division’s request and move forward with a strategic plan for realistic funding solutions for the future.

Katie Freakley, Woodstock

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