Friday, October 22, 2010

Letter from Karen Davolt Parents for 27J Students, Treasurer

Dear Editor,
We’re in a recession. Money is tight. There are people who have lost jobs. The mood of the electorate is generally not to trust government or any government entity. Then “Why,” I ask myself, “am I spending so much time trying to get people in our community to understand the need for a mill levy override (translation: a small property tax increase) for our public school district?” The answer is really pretty simple. It started with my mother, who grew up in a very poor, itinerate, farming family in southeast Missouri. She was the first in her family and only child to attend college and graduate with a teaching license. She started her career in a rural, one room school house and ended it (only a couple of hours short of her doctorate and 35 years later) in a large suburban school district. My mom loved to learn and teach others. She was a child’s champion. I grew up learning that education was almost as sacred as faith in God and love for family because my mother knew that education/knowledge is power. Not power to lord over people or take advantage of others, but the kind of power that gives people opportunities to spend life doing something they love, opportunities to choose how they want to live and where they want to live, opportunities to have the means to raise a family, and opportunities to financially give back and help make other lives better. You might have already guessed that I grew up to be a teacher too, but my husband’s college degree and profession also gave me the opportunity to stay home and raise our sons. We’ve had the power to make choices.

Since I am now a substitute teacher in 27J, I see first hand the hard work and dedication that teachers and administrators pour into their classrooms and schools each day. As a parent, I have volunteered in schools and served on district committees. I have been proud to see our district improve curriculum, teaching standards, test scores and graduation rates. We have great kids and families. Our administrators/school board members have been fiscally conservative, but in the wake of an almost 8 million dollar cut by the state, they have had to drastically cut the district’s general fund budget. Add to that the fact that our community puts the least amount of money into education than any other community in the metro area, at only $55 a child, and it is clear to me that we need to do more to support our children. How can we allow 7 children to huddle around a novel, straining to read the text because there are only 4 copies in the room, or not have a textbook to take home so they can study, or have 28, 30, or 38 in a classroom meant for 22, or not have access to the technology and science labs that other districts can afford? I fail to see why all of us wouldn’t be willing to spend less than the cost of two coffee drinks a month (based on a home valued at $250,000) to give our kids these things and more so they can continue to have the ability to compete for college admission and available jobs. Let’s give 27J kids knowledge and power to have opportunities and make choices. It’s OUR community. It’s OUR schools. It’s OUR responsibility. Please vote yes on 3A. For more information, go to

Karen Davolt
Parents for 27J Students, Treasurer