Reader Viewpoint

The
Milaca School District is embarking upon an ambitious effort to
maintain excellence in its academic and extracurricular programs while
addressing pending general fund deficits.

‘We must act, no pleasant choices’

To the Editor:

The
Milaca School District is embarking upon an ambitious effort to
maintain excellence in its academic and extracurricular programs while
addressing pending general fund deficits. The target is to adjust the
budget by about five-percent for the coming school year in order to
ensure financial integrity.

As the board begins to evaluate options and finalize the 2008-09 budget, I am hopeful that my colleagues and I will:

Remember
that symbolism matters. Cuts need to start at the top and then work
their way through the system. I believe that the school board and
administration must lead by example and identify ways to shave our
respective budgets in order to have credibility when asking others to
sacrifice.

Keep our eyes on the big picture. Quality education
includes a full spectrum of courses, activities and programs. Milaca
has a long tradition of providing a diverse mix of these options in
which participants and the community take great pride. I believe that
sports, music, FFA and other activities are as much a part of the
educational experience as English, math and science.

Address
the real issue. Salaries and benefits comprise nearly three-quarters of
the general fund expenses. Painful and distasteful as it is, reducing
positions is the surest strategy to rein in the budget now and in
future years.

We must act. We have no pleasant choices.

Given
that, I would prefer that we increase class sizes – for a short time –
rather than eliminate some programs and activities entirely. I have
every confidence that the school and broader community would rise to
the challenge and make the best of this situation.

As the budget
discussion continues to unfold over the next several weeks, please
contact me and/or other board members with your input. Thank you for
your interest in and support of our outstanding school system.

Bob Bunger
Milaca School Board member

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