Letter: Sacrifice now for children?s future by Kathy Cutforth
My question to the voters of the Rhinelander School District is, “Are we a town that has given up on itself?” Yes, we have been dealt a bad hand, it is unfair, the tax burden is distributed unevenly and there is uncertainty ahead, but do we cut our school system to pieces for the sake of saving a few dollars in taxes? I hope not.
The history of our country and our community has been to look forward and to make sacrifices now for the sake of our children. Perhaps the relative affluence of decades past makes us forget the extreme sacrifices of our grandparents, great-grandparents and those before, all in the hope of a better future. Each generation depended on the local schools to create a better future and sacrificed their own well-being to make that happen. They had to pay their own way, and so must we.
Now I worry that my son, a freshman in high school, may be penalized because he will be forced to make the best of large class sizes, dull lectures because there is no time for individualized instruction, and no joy of music or art or shop class. The classes that I took for granted as a student, even classes my grandparents took advantage of nearly 100 years ago, such as neighborhood schools, school band or a choice of language courses, are luxuries the school district can no longer afford. My son will survive – he was lucky enough to have benefitted from past small class sizes, special education, local charter schools and middle school music lessons – but I worry about the fate of the younger students. How can they compete if they are denied resources from the beginning? If cuts are this extreme now, what will happen in 2015 and 2016, when more millions will have to be cut?
The school budget crisis is not a scare tactic, it is real, and we must be brave and act. Punishing the school district for past decisions is going to punish the children of today, who cannot afford to wait for better days. If anything, voting “no” will help turn Rhinelander into the next Rust Belt factory town with lousy schools and dim prospects, a place where no young person of ambition wants to be.
Vote “yes” on February 19, and reaffirm that we are as willing as our forefathers to sacrifice and do the hard thing to make the lives of our children better.
Kathy Cutforth, Rhinelander