The Whitewater Schools have an operational referendum on the ballot this November. The referendum figures, for a conventional four-year term, will allow the district to continue regular programming and services without interruption. Nothing in this operational request involves more capital (construction) or expansion of services – the amounts authorized will simply allow Whitewater’s schools to continue their existing (increasingly good) work. (Information about the particulars of the referendum may be found online.)
Support for this referendum is in Whitewater’s interest (1) to assure continued services and progress, (2) to avoid the distracting & debilitating disorder that has beset nearby communities, and (3) as a safeguard against uncertain state and national economic trends.
Although I have been skeptical of past construction referendums, this is an operational referendum, to maintain class sizes and current programming for the district’s students. This sort of referendum merits one’s support.
There’s been clear progress in Whitewater these last two years. This new administration has based its primary efforts on broad-based gains for students. Longtime readers may recall that a few years ago I was – rightly – critical of using the test scores only of a small sample to tout progress for the district. The state has since then required testing from more students, and this new administration has worked successfully to improve scores generally. Recent good scores have come from a larger population rather than a smaller, selected one. Standardized testing is only one measure of success, but now the district can be proud of improving numbers from many and not few.
Meanwhile, nearby districts have descended into conflicts over capital spending, debates that necessarily distract from discussions of programming. (There are only so many hours in a day.) Predictably, the officials in those other districts have not only failed to keep an even keel, but they’ve also resorted to lies and open government violations to hide their errors.
We have avoided other communities’ disorder and dishonesty, and maintaining existing programming is the simplest, most practical way to remain free from others’ debilitating mistakes.
We face, also, an uncertain state and national politics. There is so much that one doesn’t know about the immediate future, especially state fiscal policy or national economic conditions. Faced with uncertainty, the most practical course is to continue with the last two years of steady local progress.
And look, and look – there are particular policies with which one will disagree. And yet, and yet – it would be counterproductive to interfere with a positive direction.
Support for students’ genuine day-in, day-out educational needs is the purpose of this referendum, and that’s a cause worth supporting. I urge others in our community, of whatever politics, to join in support on November 6th.