Letter: Kingsland residents to vote on operating referendum levy Nov. 5

I am writing today to bring awareness to the Kingsland operating referendum levy that will be voted on Nov. 5. I want to first acknowledge that I am a School Board member and a parent to three young children who attend Kingsland. I graduated from Kingsland, class of 1999, and have lived in the area most of my life. I am writing this letter as both a parent and a citizen who is well informed due to serving on the School Board.

As many of you know, Kingsland’s attempt at passing an operating referendum levy in 2018 was rejected by a relatively narrow margin. What I want to stress to the community is that operating levy funds are utilized for the operation of the school itself, not for purposes of adding new infrastructure. Operating levy funds are used to maintain and improve the educational experience our students receive and have nothing to do with funding construction projects past, present or future.

As a parent, who has returned to the community to raise children, I am impressed with the progress the district has made in the past 20 years. The quality of education remains high and the offerings to the students, in the classroom and extracurricular, have grown. This has been done despite declining enrollment and decreased funding from the state. Kingsland has continued to find a way with the odds stacked against them.

The current operating referendum levy expires in 2020. If the upcoming referendum fails, the district will quickly go into an operating deficit due to lack of funding. At that time, the state will step in and begin making cuts to anything deemed nonessential until the deficit is eliminated. Most likely this would involve cutting teachers and increasing class sizes, eliminating special classes, such as Project Lead The Way, ag, tech, music and arts. Once these programs are cut, it will be infinitely more difficult to bring them back to the school. This would be a major blow to the school and, most importantly, our students. I believe it could also have a large impact on our community as families may consider relocation or we fail to attract new families due to our lack of educational opportunities.

As a parent, I am optimistic about the November election yielding a positive result. We have time as a community to ask the tough questions. Do we want to maintain local control of our school, for the benefit of our students? Do we want to live in a community where we invest in our school for the sake of the future — not only the students, but also the greater Kingsland community as a whole? I encourage you all to ask the questions you need answers to and voice your concerns to the district’s administration and board. Lastly, I encourage you to vote yes for the future well-being of our students and collective Kingsland communities.

Thank you for your consideration,

Kyle Rader

Writing as parent and community member