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Letter: Building a bridge to our future

The Hastings School District serves families and businesses in the Hastings area in many ways! Primarily, a quality education is the number one benefit or value and this District currently works with 4,576 students, their families and loved ones. The schools here employ over 600 caring, thoughtful, talented people who teach, clean, cook, nurse and attend to everything our kids need, from a desk, locker and table to a state-of-the-art fine arts program; from smart boards and iPad curricula, reading, writing and arithmetic to before-school through after-school programs and activities of every shape and kind. Hastings families and businesses also serve the local schools and we are very grateful for all the time and support. Imagine for a moment if we lived in a world where we didn’t value the education and school programs for our young people. (What a bleak, silent and stark world that would be!) Fortunately, the Hastings area has always valued and supported quality education going all the way back to the 1800s.

The “one-of-a-kind” Spiral Bridge also served the Hastings area well going back to the 1800s and continues to leave an important legacy in our community. A few years ago, we tragically learned the importance of investing in infrastructure. Democrats, Republicans, federal, state and city officials all came together to provide a beautiful new bridge that will carry us far into the next century.

The Hastings area schools have continued to try and be as fiscally responsible as possible while prudently asking the Community for financial support for its important infrastructure. Not just the bonding infrastructure of buildings and “smartboards,” but the importance of levies to the infrastructure of maintaining lower class sizes in key areas, a curriculum that adheres to the testing environment while also allowing and encouraging our kids to maximize their potential at all levels and in all interests. A learning infrastructure that never forgets the importance of every child and doesn’t take for granted the full range of real needs at each site and in every classroom.

This fall, we are seeking to renew the levy from 2005 for another 10 years. The renewed levy, just as before, will have a built-in, limited inflationary increase provision. Against a backdrop of slightly declining enrollment and consequently- declining funding from the State and Federal Government, we have embarked on making cuts to the budget going forward and spreading the costs of those cuts between the fund balance and cuts to the infrastructure. Cuts are painful and have a real impact on employees, students and families engaged in our schools.

A vote to renew the levy will clearly support the schools. It will allow our Schools to continue doing the best job we can for Hastings-area kids and families. It’s not a request for “new” money or funding, it’s a request to continue funding the most important infrastructure we know of.

Thank you.