Support kids: Vote yes
Baldwin School District patrons have the opportunity Tuesday to provide additional funding for a host of needed improvements in the district.
Patrons will be asked to vote on whether the district can increase the Local Option Budget (LOB) from its present 12 percent to 25 percent of the general fund budget. Last year the 12 percent raised $750,000 and, at 25 percent, would raise about $1.5 million. Supt. James White says that this year the LOB increase will probably be 17 percent. The district is allowed by law to make that increase, regardless of Tuesday's vote. The additional increase would be further down the road.
The district is starting to see the increased enrollment brought on by the growth in the surrounding area. Vinland Elementary School is out of classroom space; Baldwin Junior High School is, too. Those two schools are in need of relief immediately and the district plans to do that with LOB money.
But it's not just bricks and mortar that need to be addressed in the district. Baldwin is blessed with talented and motivated teachers and other employees, but salaries are lagging behind. Keeping the best teachers is of utmost importance and that takes money. That's also what the LOB will be used for.
Other plans for the money include upgrades to technology and for replacing band instruments. Staying at the cutting edge of technology is vital for today's students. To allow them to stay up with the latest in computers, etc., it takes money. Band instruments haven't been replaced for years and that process is long over due.
All of this takes money and, yes, it means taxes will go up. But it's for the kids whose education should be of the utmost importance to the entire community.
The entire 25 percent increase would cost a taxpayer with a $100,000 home around $240, White said. That's $20 a month. That's a bargain and it won't even be that high this year.
Baldwin needs to maintain its educational prowess. This is a way to do that. Be sure and vote Tuesday and vote yes on the LOB question.