As we enter another budget cycle across the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union, we should pause and look at the reason for budgets and the difficult decisions that are vetted and made each year.
Our mission is to educate students. Not just some students, but all; not partly educated, but prepared to take our place as leaders in our towns and communities. These students of today will be holding down jobs and building careers, becoming parents and leading the way for our grandchildren.
Every dollar spent in the schools is accountable to the public, who generously support schools within our democracy. We elect school boards to oversee these dollars. We hold Town Meetings to have our voice heard. We participate in school fundraisers and use our schools as meeting houses and community gathering places.
Each year, the school board and administration go over the budget and look at what we are spending on our students. Are we focused in the right areas? Do we offer opportunities for our students to succeed and thrive? We look at our demographics and identify what is needed for those not achieving as we would like. We develop personal learning plans for students. We analyze class sizes to see if we can increase by just one more at a time. We identify what our graduates need and build in technology to the lessons we teach. We absorb what the legislature mandates and add to our mission.
In today’s schools, we feed and clothe our students along with teaching the basic skills of learning. We take care of physical and mental health needs and strive to teach citizenship and respect. We build a community and prepare our students for a global workforce upon graduation. We do this within the resources that are allotted through a budget vote and legislative decisions and sometimes we have to reduce popular programs as we simply cannot sustain them any more.
Our schools make these decisions with our Compact in mind. The development of character, competence, creativity and a sense of community is paramount in what we offer and decisions we make. Our schools are our greatest asset. We invest in the future of our communities by investing in our students.
Now is the time to be part of that process. Our school boards are holding numerous meetings over the next six weeks to review what is in our budgets now and decide what budget changes need to be made. Come be part of the process. Talk with a school board member about what you feel are priorities in our education system, or attend a board meeting or budget forum and let us hear your thoughts.
We are in this process together of investing in our future.