A Sobering Reality and Genuine Need

$497,000. That is what is being cut from the proposed budgets in Clinton: $330,000 from the education budget, and $167,000 from the town budget. These numbers translate to around $7.50 a month, per household. What will those dollars actually translate to in terms of lost programs for our schools and our community?

We know we have a sobering reality and genuine need in Clinton in our poverty rate. Those living below the poverty line benefit most from access to quality, appropriate education and services, thereby improving both their and Clinton’s potential and marketability.

Education is the great equalizer. This has never been more evident than in our Clinton community. Education lessens poverty. It improves physical and mental well being. It decreases crime. It increases home values. The real estate industry tells us definitively that high-quality school systems are the biggest contributor to high property values. It attracts people to move into a community. It guarantees that our society will be able to compete and succeed in the world at large.

At some point in each of our lives, others committed themselves to our education by making our schools and our future their priority. At some point, previous generations stood up for us, and agreed to ensure we had the tools, skills, and experience to be successful. At some point, our communities voted “Yes” for education funding, for good reason.

What do we want Clinton to be? How do we want our town to look next year, five years from now, 20 years from now? What does our town mean to us? What does our town do for us? What does it mean to be a community?

These are all questions we need to ask ourselves as we prepare for budget cuts and the next referendum.

Erica Gelven

Erica Gelven is PTA president.

Published May 19, 2015 – http://www.zip06.com/letters/20150519/a-sobering-reality-and-genuine-need

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