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May 3, 2013
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Letter: Support Ballot Measure 10-29 in Douglas County

Support Ballot Measure 10-29

“Whatever it takes!” That’s the motto for teachers, support staff and administrators of Douglas County School District No. 4. I was appointed to the district’s Budget Committee in 2006. I have to tell you, living up to that motto has become increasingly difficult. In 2006 general fund revenues were approximately $57,200,000. In its current 2012-13 budget year, general fund revenues are $47,500,000.

How did the district manage the reductions? Well first, it cut support staff, then teachers, then counselors, then librarians, administrative personnel, then whole programs. For those employees who remained, district health insurance payments were limited and benefits were further trimmed. Employees were introduced to higher deductible health plans and Health Savings Accounts. Employees nearing retirement were offered early retirement bonuses to trim payroll costs. By my estimation, more than 65 district positions have been eliminated since 2006.

Despite good intentions, education today is about how we can get the majority of students educated for the least amount of money. Sadly, education is usually the first place our legislature looks to reduce expenditures when a recession hits.

For years voters were asked to approve all kinds of bond levies to fund well-intended projects. For the most part, Douglas County voters have rejected these levies. Times are tough and I can’t say I supported all levies put before me.

We can vote and re-vote on equipment and buildings year after year and maybe when the economy improves, the voters will fund a piece of equipment or a new building, but a child goes through Douglas School District No. 4 only once. If he or she doesn’t have all the tools needed to succeed, have we done whatever it takes?

Please support Ballot Measure 10-29.

John Markovich

Winchester


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The News-Review Updated Jun 10, 2013 11:35AM Published May 3, 2013 02:08PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.