Reader: We failed the children

Disclaimer: The content discussed in this [letter] are solely the views and opinions expressed as a resident and taxpayer in the IRSD. It is not indicative of the thoughts or opinions of residents within my community.

The recent failure to pass the second referendum was disappointing. The IRSD students and the future of our society lost on Tuesday, May 7. It is clear that change is needed in our legislative priorities and how schools get funding.

Education is a fundamental right for all students. We should not punish students simply because their parents were not born here or are assumed to be in our society “illegally.” A perception exists that some voters rejected the referendum because of a misguided and misinformed belief that “illegal” immigrant children are somehow causing our overcrowding and growth problems.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Statistics and facts dispute this theory. If we as a society somehow begin to determine who can or cannot receive an education in our school district because of their ethnicity, we will have very serious problems in the future. What will be next, that we decide who should or can attend our schools?

The parents of these students are the same people who work to maintain our lawns, clean our homes and businesses, work in the poultry plants and in the fields to help us feed our families. They contribute to our society.

We need to revamp the processes in which school funding is solicited, change the way we think about funding for our schools. The status-quo way no longer works. Our needs, priorities and demographics have changed, and our district needs to change with it.

Seek other sources of revenue to support school funding. Reduce our primary dependence on homeowners footing the tax bill. Utilize outside expertise from other business sectors to bring in new, innovative and sustainable funding models. Use the talent in and outside our district to help solve this problem.

We can no longer ignore this antiquated model of funding our schools. We can and must do better. This is not working, and the future of our children demands our attention.

“Education should be one of our top funding priorities; talking about it does not help the teachers and students who desperately need promises fulfilled.”— Solomon Ortiz


Rose Watkins