To the editor:
My name is Jeff Kruse and I am a co-chairman of the School Referendum Information Committee.
Next Tuesday, the 8th of November, is an important day for the Marshall School District. Two referendum requests will be brought forward to you, the voters of our school district.
One proposal will be a request for a continuation for an additional five years of an existing $650 per pupil operating levy. This levy was voted in place in 2007 and was instrumental in allowing our school district to offer all day, everyday kindergarten, retain small class sizes at the elementary school levels and put into place several more education initiatives that would not have been available through normal funding channels.
The second request is for an additional six-year operational levy that will help the district to attain its goals of being able to supplement classroom learning with 21st century technology, allowing our students to be even more prepared for their future in the electronic world. Another part of that request is a bit more foundational. The roof on the middle school, which I understand has 39 different roofing sections, is in need of repairs that will sustain it for a longer period of time.
When I came to Marshall in 1968 after serving a tour in Vietnam with the Marine Corps and ready to begin my higher educational goals at Southwest Minnesota State, I was not tuned into public education, its funding or what made public education tick. Even after 13 years of service on the Marshall School board and many years as a member of the Minnesota School Board Association's Board, it would still be difficult to call myself an expert on the topic.
I do have some personal feelings about it, though. The Marshall School District, its taxpayers, the state's taxpayers and this community have provided educational opportunities for my 88-year-old mother-in-law and her siblings, my wife, Cathy, and her siblings, our three sons and (with great anticipation), we look forward to a grandson starting kindergarten next year in the same district that educated his great-grandmother.
The orange and black of Marshall Public Schools has been significant in the lives of our family. We don't know everyone who paid for their education and we know that during the time that my mother-in-law was in school, times were historically tough and yet the local school district continued to provide her an educational opportunity.
Today getting that same educational opportunity to our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren is not a simple process. Education itself is more demanding simply because of the diversity of the students and the unique demands on educational institutions to educate students for the 21st century and beyond. Financing has gone beyond simply a dedication of so many funds for education, to the shifting of funds, a yearly debate of how much might go to education and more unfunded, mandated education than ever before.
Thanks to our local operating levy support, Marshall Public Schools have been able to meet and exceed our expectations for a local education institution. High graduation rates, high percentages of students going on to secondary education and competitive testing levels are all continuing indications of survival in a time of challenge for all of us.
My first request of you as voting citizens of this school district is that when you go to the poll to vote next Tuesday, that you vote yes on each of the referendum requests, which will allow our community to provide expanded local support to the Marshall School District as it works to continue the tradition of a great education for all of our students/your students, even in these challenging and changing times. A community that invests above and beyond the call of duty to educate its children is and always will be a successful community.
My family of students (past, present and future) thank you for your support of these referendums.
Co-chairman, School Referendum