To the editor,
On June 22, Grand Forks residents voted on a pair of referendums put forth by the School Board to fund school building deferred maintenance, which included a new, consolidated school.
The people of Grand Forks, or at least 10% of them, gave a loud “no” to the new, consolidated school. Despite this result the fact remains that additional funding is required to fix our schools and the writing is on the wall: our teachers will be facing cuts which will negatively impact our community.
Meanwhile, Grand Forks holds parades, raises funds, waves flags and keeps signs in their yards year-round for the police. The proposed 2021 general budget, which includes an overall 2% cut, still includes a 1% increase for police funding, which is 25% of the total budget. Six-figure tax abatements are a fixture on City Council agendas.
Why are we increasing police funding and giving away tax revenue when schools are being defunded? All research says that education prevents crime and builds healthy communities more effectively than police forces and shiny downtown condos.
I cannot argue with many of the reasons given for not supporting the referendum, but we can and must do better. We must stand with our teachers when they’re faced with cuts and we must fix the buildings our children learn in. We must hold leaders accountable when they work against our collective best interest, intentionally or not. We must start spending our energy and resources on institutions that actually build a future.
Support for our teachers and schools is support for our children and the future of our community at large.
Will Lovelace, Grand Forks