January 1, 2006

Open Letter to Hopkins School Board

We recently were notified by the Hopkins School Board that our school district finished the year in statutory operating debt. I’m not sure if it is as bad as the newsletter made it seem, but I felt compelled to send them a letter on the proposal.

Hopkins School Board,

Last week we received the 2006-07 Proposed Budget newsletter. I will keep my comments brief and to-the-point.

Your communication portrayed an environment without adequate financial controls, and a lack of transparency and accountability. I appreciate the complexity of funding for a school makes this a complicated task. However, as a taxpayer, I think that I can appropriately expect that our dollars are being used knowingly.

I encourage you to remedy these problems and make sure that the appropriate controls exist. However, I’m concerned by a budget proposal that shows significant cuts in teachers, programs and other activities for students, and increased investment in information systems, audit and other administrative tasks. Let us not forget the critical role and mission that our schools provide to our children and our community!

As the father of a young daughter, and hoping for more in the future, the quality of public education in my community is of critical concern. I live where I live in part because of the quality of the schools, and the national renown that the Hopkins School District has maintained. I finished your newsletter concerned that the quality of education was being lessened in a meaningful way.

I realize that it’s not something for nothing”, but please do everything in your power to make sure that our schools do not sacrifice the quality of education provided.

It stuns me that funding education properly, and fully, is a controversial topic. It is the single most important thing that we can do for our country, society and the well-being of our children.

Dear Diary Family

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