Commitment for the Future

By Pat Emory
Milford School District Board member
I have always been perplexed when it comes to our commitment to public education. Everyone knows the value of a good education and anyone you ask will tell you that it is the foundation to a successful career. These same individuals believe the public education system is paramount when it comes to obtaining those goals and historically in the Milford School District there has always been great support.

Today we once again call on the community in the Milford School District for their support to give our young people the best possible opportunities to succeed in the future. With budget cuts on both the state and federal levels for education and the continued rise in operation costs, local funds at the district level have had to make up the difference. This has put a considerable strain on local school district dollars and in the case of the Milford School District has caused deficit spending for the operational budget. However, we are very fortunate that the district managed its money wisely over the years creating a contingency fund for just such a crisis. As is the case with any such fund it can only last so long and at current expenditure rates the fund will be exhausted within two years.

With the continued growth in the area we now have an overcrowding problem in grades 5 through 8 and need additional space which equates to a new school. The district has been balancing several ideas since the closing of the old middle school on how to address this issue which included building a new middle school and most recently building a new high school and moving the middle school age students into the existing High School/Academy facility. The District concluded after a great deal of deliberation and input from the community that the construction of a new high school would best address current and future needs of the district.
In order to accomplish this goal the district will need to go to a referendum. And we all know that this means additional property taxes. No one likes that idea, especially the Milford Board of Education but there is no other way to manage the problem.

Now when the question of education is discussed again with many of the same people in the context of a referendum many feel it is not their obligation. We hear comments such as “my kids are out of school, why should I care” or “I moved here from out of state to avoid taxes.”
To these individuals I answer “you should care, you should care very deeply.” In order to attract businesses and jobs to the area you need a well-educated workforce and businesses look first at the quality of the schools in the area. Businesses are also concerned that employees they attract from outside the area who have school age children will have their educational needs met.
Attracting new business opportunities and jobs is important to the area because it brings in additional revenue through property taxes and income tax. It also creates a ripple effect for existing businesses by adding additional revenue in community. And finally, in many cases there are spin off businesses associated with a parent company which create even greater job opportunities helping the overall general economy in the area.

A highly educated workforce and its associated jobs also equates to a demand for housing thus enhancing property values.
And it is a proven fact that there is a reduction in crime when a community has a high standard of education.

This is why a robust public education system is so important to this community. It starts our young people on a path of prosperity so that they are assets not liabilities to our economic success.
These are just a few reasons why you should support the Milford School District and vote “YES” on May 5 for the referendum. We are all in this together as a community and we’re no stronger than our weakest link, so look at this as an investment or commitment for the future, which when it matures, will have far reaching benefits not only for you but the community as a whole.

Thank you.

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