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It is budget time again and schools across Vermont are doing their best to balance the dual demands of Vermont taxpayers. We all want high-quality schools, but we also recognize the tough financial times we are currently living in.
Over the past few weeks, the Harwood Union School Board has been grappling with these issues and they will be voting on a final budget Wednesday, January 18. Under consideration for cuts have been teaching positions in English, history, business and computing, English Language Learners (ELL), Next Step, as well as tech support, administration, athletics and facilities.
The Harwood Education Association (HEA) feels very strongly that these proposed budget cuts would have significant negative impacts on the learning outcomes of our students and would not lead directly to any significant decreases to our local property taxes.
The school board's finance committee will meet at 4:30 p.m. on January 18 in the Harwood Union Library. The last chance for members of the Harwood community to raise their concerns before the final budget is voted on will be at the Harwood Union School Board Meeting at 6 p.m. on January 18.
The community is encouraged to attend these meetings.
Please take a moment to consider the following:
1) These cuts will negatively affect the learning outcomes of our students.
2) These cuts will not necessarily lead to a decrease in taxes for the average taxpayer in our district.
3) These cuts are voluntary and the Harwood Union school board is not obligated to make any budget cuts.
4) Our school has already made significant cuts over the past few years, both in programs and personnel.
5) The Harwood community has a long history of supporting the educational outcomes of our students.
This support has taken on many forms. Community businesses and organizations welcome our students as employees, interns, apprentices, shadow participants and through generous support of fund-raising efforts. Members of the community support all forms of extracurricular activities as fans, audience members and sponsors. Voters have provided generous support through the passage of annual school budgets. We are truly fortunate to live and work in a community that values a high-quality education for all students.
Submitted by the Harwood Education Association.