Letter to the Editor: In support of Woodbridge referendum

I am a resident and home owner in Greenwood, born and raised in this tiny but special town. I’m also the proud parent of daughters in the first and fourth grades in the Woodbridge elementary schools, with a preschool son who will soon be joining them.

Though we never attended public school as children, my husband and I have chosen public education for our children, and we are thankful to be a part of this wonderful community. Our daughters have enjoyed great experiences at Woodbridge with caring staff and teachers, and now it’s time to show our support.

On May 29, the Woodbridge School District will be holding a current expense referendum vote for the residents of Greenwood and Bridgeville. They are requesting a minor increase in property taxes to raise about $950,000 for operating funds.

They held a referendum vote in March that was defeated by about 100 votes, but I strongly believe our community needs to come out and vote yes.

Here’s why:

• The last time the district requested an expense referendum was 13 years ago, since then the enrollment in the district has increased more than 30% to over 2,500 students.

• The growing number of students is great but adds salary and material costs and utility costs have risen

• State budget cuts in 2012 have impacted the schools and resulted in adding $200,000 in the cost of busing children to and from school.

• As we’ve seen the nationwide shift in school safety over the past decade, security officers have been added to three of the four schools.

What will it cost?

The tax rate increase of .655 per $100 of assessed property value, will impact the average resident about $70-90 per year. That’s only about the cost of a fast food value meal per month!

What happens if the referendum does not pass?

Recently I met personally with Heath Chasanov, a graduate of the Woodbridge School District and superintendent for the past seven years. He explained how the district has done their best to cut costs in multiple areas over the past several years, trying to avoid requesting a referendum vote but now is a critical time where funds are needed to avoid changes that could have a very negative impact on the students and faculty.

A failed referendum could have the following negative impacts:

• The district is approved with the state to hire an additional 17-20 staff based on enrollment but currently lacks the local funds to fill these valuable positions. That will result in increased classroom sizes, impacting student performance.

• It could lead to a decrease in staff morale and higher turnover rates.

• It would dramatically reduce the safety budget, removing security officers from the schools at a time when most districts are increasing their security spending.

Please show up at Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center in Greenwood or Woodbridge Middle School in Bridgeville on Wednesday, May 29 to vote yes. You only need to be 18 or older, reside in the district and bring your ID — you don’t have to be a registered voter.

For more information, visit www.woodbridgeraiders.net.

Julleanna Seely
Greenwood

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