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Levy: Military needs quality schools
As a military spouse, I often hear the words Impact Aid brought up when talking about the impending vote for the Maintenance and Operations levy. Since my daughter started school in 2003, I have been slowly, but eagerly learning about what impacts her education. After doing some research on Federal Impact Aid, I was quite concerned. I think it is imperative that everyone, especially military families take notice.
Impact Aid cannot be a sole and reliable source of educational funding to suffice for our military children. Why? Because each student with a federal impact and the plethora of weight scenarios, combined with the effects the local and state contributions, becomes a complicated mathematical equation that undercuts the budget needs of our military children. We get a portion of the loss generated by the federal impact, not a dollar for dollar amount. Ultimately, Oak Harbor is left to deal with the shortfall. I can understand if this is upsetting to the local taxpayer.
However, federal Impact Aid is federal money that is subject to cuts. Money is often shifted around to meet other priorities. Additionally, past and current presidents have made proposals to reduce the amount of aid set aside for the budget year.
Military families sacrifice quite a bit, a choice that many of us have proudly and humbly undertaken. Frequent deployments and moves are an inherent stress factor for our children. Families reporting for duty here, as well as permanent residents, should not have to encounter additional worries of losing quality education and support services (i.e. hot lunch program, teacher aides and art specialists). Renewing the current levy is a sacrifice that does not and will not go unnoticed.
Take a look around your neighborhood schools and admire the artwork that graces the halls. Take comfort in knowing that a child who needs a free/reduced lunch is getting adequate nutrition to get them through the day, or that those who are taking advanced placement classes are getting the challenge that they desire. There is much to be proud of in Oak Harbor. Whether you have children or not, we as a community need to obligate ourselves to our most important future assets, our children. Please vote yes on March 8, to renew the Maintenance and Operations Levy.
Elizabeth A. Beeman