The following letter was submitted by Marple Newtown School District parent Kristel Schimmoller.
To all Elementary, Middle School and High School Parents of Instrumental Students:
First of all, let me introduce myself – I am Kristel Schimmoller, Vice President of the Marple Newtown High School Band Parents’ Association and parent of a junior in the high school band.
Last week, the Marple Newtown School Board Budget and Finance Committee Meeting was held to review the budget plans for next year. During the meeting, members of the board indicated their desire to have a 0% tax increase while supporting salary increases for teachers. Attendees noted that if the budget was not increased, but salaries were, there would need to be cuts and questioned what cuts might be considered. The cuts under consideration include reducing Librarians and Elementary Instrumental Music.
As noted, certain school board members have indicated that they are in favor of a 0% increase. We all appreciate that these are difficult financial times. While we want our school board members to be good stewards of our money, we also want to ensure that the impact of the budget is understood. The state of Pennsylvania’s school budget process provides the ability for the School Board to submit an initial budget, allowing the opportunity to continue exploring options.
There are two ways for the school board to manage this next phase of the budget:
1. The School Board can put in for a 0% increase and then need to balance the budget based on that 0% increase. This option leaves no doors open.
2. The School Board can apply for the maximum allowed increase (as defined by the State of PA’s Act I) which provides them with the flexibility to make a decision later on what the actual increase will be based on having more complete information on other costs. This option leaves the door open for the board to have no increase when the final budget is submitted.
Consequently, our objective is to have the school board apply for the maximum increase allowed by Act I.
Our secondary objective is to have the school board understand that there are a large number of constituents who are concerned about the future of our school programs.
Your Call to Action
1. If this issue is important to you – please make an effort to attend Tuesday's school board meeting. School board members have made statements that those who attend are the “vocal minority." We need a presence to indicate that this is not a minority issue.
2. Encourage your high school children to attend so that we can let the school board know that this is an issue that matters to our children.
3. During the meeting, we want to represent our program with the same discipline that our high school band members do. While we have passion for the subject, as our high school students do for their competitions, we do not want that passion to drive our conversation. Instead, the conversation should be driven by a respect for our school board, its members and the other attendees.
Other Relevant Information:
There are a few parents that have volunteered to speak to each school level, and we will have one student speaker as well. This representation, along with the audience, should be an effective conveyance of our message.
Marple Newtown School District Parent
Vice President of the Marple Newtown High School Band Parents' Association