Public hearings are important to process
Beginning in the middle of August, the two local school boards will be holding public meetings that will give area residents an opportunity to ask questions and provide input for the coming school year. Given the challenges our schools will have this fall with funding teachers and programs, these meetings may never have held more importance.
Neither system will approve a budget in August, as they usually do. Instead, budgets will await the outcome of an early September vote on the governor's tax reform package. Voter approval means that schools should be adequately funded to continue to offer popular and important programs, and that class sizes will remain at current levels. Failure to pass the package could mean just the opposite.
The meetings are an important prelude to that election though, and are an opportunity for the public to learn a little more about what our area's school have planned for the coming year.
In the past, the budget meetings have been poorly attended by the public. It seems many people would rather let the school officials make the decisions, and then criticize or compliment based on the outcome.
Even though questions will remain to be answered until after the vote, public attendance at the meetings is important. Leadership cannot operate in a vaccuum and successfully fulfill its mission.
In our view, our school officials, elected and appointed, need to hear from the public about which programs we feel are important and to provide input on how they can be funded. These meetings will be an important time to provide that input and set the direction for the coming year.