OUR VIEW: No sign of sour grapes at District 834You’ve got to hand it to the folks at the Stillwater Area School District.
You’ve got to hand it to the folks at the Stillwater Area School District.
They are soldiering on through a grueling budget-cutting process with all the earnestness and positivity of a group that has not been thwarted.
Yet that’s exactly what happened to the district in November, when voters rejected an infusion of funding that would have kept things from nose-diving. Remember, the central piece of that levy referendum wasn’t a pie-in-the-sky wish list for the district (though it could be argued that the district may have overreached with its other two referendum questions). In fact, the district was still headed toward eventual budget cuts, with or without the levy increase.
Stillwater district officials – especially Superintendent Corey Lunn – made no bones about the financial predicament Stillwater was in as the vote neared: approve it, and we cut $5 million; don’t approve it, and that amount doubles.
The voting public spoke: no new taxes, thank you very much. That put the onus on School Board members to figure out how to handle the next steps. Given the voting public’s response, it’s conceivable that a school board might have turned to a unilateral budget-cutting approach, after the public staked out its ground – despite being informed of the possible repercussions.
Not at Stillwater. Rather, the district has practically begged the public for feedback as the board weighs its options. As is explained in this week’s Page 3 story, the district held the second public hearing on budget-cut proposals last week. The meetings described in painstaking detail the options available to the board on its way to the $10 million and prioritized the cuts with the goal of inflicting the least amount of damage on students and classrooms.
We commend the district on maintaining the public discourse in the face of failure. The message it sends is a healthy, realistic one: we’re all in this together. And the only way to achieve progress is by moving forward.