Forum editorial: Quality of Moorhead schools is at riskThe Moorhead School District’s proposed revenue measure on Tuesday’s ballot is a reasonable, responsible and much-needed mechanism to prevent further erosion of public education.
The Moorhead School District’s proposed revenue measure on Tuesday’s ballot is a reasonable, responsible and much-needed mechanism to prevent further erosion of public education. The district is asking voters to step up at a time when the state has stepped down regarding education funding.
Most residents of the school district probably don’t realize that nearly 90 percent of the local schools’ budget comes from state sources. Less than 4 percent is generated by local property taxes. The proposed levy, which would raise an additional $850 per student over the life of the measure, would raise the local share slightly. That small increase would help the district get through what looks to be a period of more state school funding shortfalls.
Opponents of the measure want the district to make more cuts. Regarding curriculum, they don’t say where. Cuts already have been made, not only in what some observers would call “extras,” but also into the meat of academic programs. If the measure fails, more cuts will be required and the quality of Moorhead’s schools will slip.
Critics also want to see salary cuts for teachers and staff. But Moorhead is not extravagant in the salary area. Its pay scale is similar or lower than in similar-sized Minnesota districts.
The choice is simple: A little more local effort to maintain good local schools, or severe cuts in classroom and other programs that will cause young families to look for public schools elsewhere. The school issue then becomes one of community growth and economic development. That’s how important schools are. A “yes” vote on the revenue measure is essential.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.