Now is the time to speak up on Jackson’s 2008-09 school budget

Iattended the January Jackson Board of Education meeting, as I do almost every month. Much to my dismay, once again, there were only about 25 people in the audience. Could this be any more disheartening?

In a town with a school district of almost 10,000 children, only 25 people found the time to attend a meeting that had announced, in advance, there would be budget reviews presented. This is deplorable.

Where were all the parents who were at the June, July and August board meetings complaining they did not want their children’s school hours changed? They vowed to be at every board meeting thereafter, but they didn’t appear to be there [the other] night.

Where were the other parents whose children attend our schools and get bused? The words courtesy busing were mentioned again at this meeting; why weren’t you there to inquire if there will be busing for your children next school year? Where were all the athletes’ parents? Why weren’t you there to ensure your children would still be able to play, and the coaches would still be there for them next school year?

Where were the theater and arts parents? Why weren’t you there to make certain that your children would have, at the very least, the same activities next school year that they have this school year?

Every year we are given the chance to vote in school board elections. How fortunate that we are given this amazing power to have a say in our children’s school district. Yet, year after year, parents let this golden opportunity slip right by them. Parents, you need to get involved, you need to keep yourselves informed, you need to make certain that your children will have everything they need in their school district by attending your monthly school board meetings, not to mention your school’s PTA/PTO meetings, voicing your concerns before the budget is finalized, and then by voting for the school budget.

For those of you who have questions regarding the budget, [the other] night would have been one of many times you were able to question the board members. Instead, you wait until after the budget is finalized, presented, voted down, and then you come up to a board meeting after the fact to complain that something that was in [the current] year’s school budget is no longer there for the upcoming school year.

All of a sudden, when it is too late, you become worried and upset over things that you had many chances to address before, and then, amazingly, youmanage to find the time to attend a board meeting. Ridiculous! I believe the parents in this town care about the quality of education and the tools needed (including highly qualified teachers) to ensure their children’s academic success.

I know they realize the value of their house depends greatly on the quality of education within the school district in which they live. Parents, I implore you to attend these monthly meetings. Furthermore, I urge you to get out on April 15 and vote for your school budget.

Donna Tuminaro