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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Budget

The day has finally arrived. May 17th. The day that voters across the state experience the opportunity to exercise the rights of citizens of a democracy and express their opinions by pulling a lever in the privacy of the voting booth and collectively determining the level of investment within the publicly supported schools of their community. The economic doom and gloom that make daily appearances in some form or fashion in the media hang over us like the dark clouds that have persistently drenched the area in rain. Anxiety has increased throughout the day due to the realization that a defeated budget would result in further reductions and negatively impact programs and people already weakened by the budget cuts of last year.

The construction of the annual operating budget proposed for the upcoming 2011-12 school year was a continuous circus. No, it wasn't wild, nor were there thrills and chills. The reference to the circus involved the juggling of ideas, walking the tightrope of competing interests, and balancing revenue and investments. At times the experience felt like being shot out of a cannon. Much work had been expended in developing a budget that is both sensitive to tax payers during the present time of economic plight and responsive to the needs of children in pursuit of their future aspirations. Many ideas had been examined as dollars and cents while always reminding ourselves of the people and stories associated with each aspect of the budget.

At 8:00 pm the outcome of all the preparation and perspiration of the last few months was announced. Despite the current economic distress plaguing the state, the voters of Green Island reaffirmed their faith in the "small school with BIG ideas" by approving the budget by a 72.5% to 27.5% margin and increasing their investment in the school by 2.78% over last year's budget. While this news is great it also reminds us of the tremendous responsibilities we face in operating at performance levels that continue to invite the fiscal support of tax payers next year and into the future. It is a task we do not take lightly. 

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