What now for our kids?

To the Editor:

Now that the majority of St. Johnsbury residents have voted down the proposed school budget, I have to ask what now for our kids? What are our goals for developing the next generation of residents of St. Johnsbury? Is it our hope to see them move through the system; hopefully get a quality education that will allow them to compete with other students? Or do we advocate that they continue to be enveloped in the viscous cycle that plagues so many residents in this community? 70% of the students who are attending the St. Johnsbury School qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch. All of our students need access to opportunity and by not passing the school budget, we as adults are not allowing this to happen for our children.

Schools in the 21st century have become more than just schools, they have become community centers where a variety of services are provided. If we do not allow the school to provide these basic services, we will not move this town forward. Being in education myself and having prepared budgets, I can say that this is a modest budget compared to the state average and the increases that have impacted the tax rate across the state of Vermont. Do we not respect our town enough to want it to grow? We will not attract people to our town if we cannot respect the idea of educating our children. The residents of St. Johnsbury must break the cycle and allocate the appropriate resources so that the next generation can be successful and contributing members to this community. If we do not, I fear that we will drive our youth away because we failed to support them.

Sincerely,

Mike Moriarty

St. Johnsbury, Vt.

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