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Letter: Education matters

My three teenage sons all attend Willmar Public Schools. Throughout their school years, I have been impressed with many of the teachers who have changed their lives, and programs that have enriched their childhoods.

However, severe budget cuts in the district have hurt every student, not just mine; there are crowded classrooms, a lack of textbooks, a freeze on technology and equipment, and the loss of 67 positions in the last two years. People have been cut in science, communications, social studies, special education and a quarter of the music staff.

There is no fat left to cut. The district has cut $7 million in the past six years. I am on the speaking committee of a volunteer citizen group called Education Matters that supports passage of the levy, and the community members that I speak to are surprised at decimated programs in the schools and how little it will cost the average taxpayer to maintain our fund balance and preserve current programs.

A rumor is floating around that property taxes will double because of the levy, but that is untrue: someone with a $100,000 home will only pay $10 more per month. To figure out your cost, go to the school's website to use an easy online calculator.

Contrary to a recent letter to the editor, money is needed to adequately support our schools. Education matters to our communities, as we attract new businesses and improve our economic base. Education matters to us as we train the people who will care for us. Education matters to the students who dream of great ideas and bright futures. Vote yes for yourself and the students, known and unknown, throughout our district.

Jill Benson