By Kirk Miller
Havre Public Schools are ready to welcome back students to the 2002-03 school year. The first day for students is Wednesday, Aug. 28.
The governor's administratively imposed budget cuts prior to the call of the special session coupled with special legislative session cuts to school district budgets will have a detrimental effect on schools throughout our state.
Though the cuts were not as bad as some contemplated at the beginning of the special session, I am concerned for our students as these actions continue to place the education of our children below other priorities in our state. It is clear that economic development is directly related to the quality of our education system. We must continue to focus on providing a sound, quality education system for our students.
I don't think for a minute that we can't do this. We must set our priorities, focus on our goals and then work together to provide opportunities for our students. This is what we do every day at Havre Public Schools.
A recently released school funding adequacy study provides, for the first time in Montana, estimated costs of educating our students to meet our basic state standards. I believe this is a well- founded, common sense approach to providing our schools with appropriate funding rather than basing school funding on what is left in the state coffers after many other needs have been met. For our kids, we should support this approach.
In spite of all that you hear and read in the news regarding what is happening at the state and national level, I want you to know that our school district is focused and operating efficiently to provide the very best for our students. This sometimes sends the message to those not paying close attention that there are no needs in our schools, and that we are doing fine without adequate resources to function.
In response to this message, I believe the critical nature of the job we do for students requires that we leave no stone unturned in seeking out ways to provide what is needed. Creativity and hard work by our staff have allowed our district to continue to show significant progress in educating kids, and we have provided leadership on a number of key issues in the education community throughout our state.
We may be hurting from the challenges we face, but our goal is to promote hope. This is the right message to send because we are working with the future leaders of our community, state and nation. We will continue to do so, hopefully not to the detriment of the bigger picture for those who would believe that all is fine and dandy in adequately supporting and funding education.
I emphasize that the support of our community has been outstanding. You can count on our work ethic, educational training, tenacity and vision for hope in helping our kids. We must continue to count on you (our community) to support our schools.
In a little over two weeks students will be back to school. Reminder that all students in grades K-3 must register with the Transportation Department before riding the bus. This can be accomplished by simply calling 265-9032 this week, or going on-line at www.havre.k12.mt.us. There is no charge for riding our buses. The registration process is so we can make sure we have correct information for pickup and dropoff spots for our youngest students.
More information on our schools and the beginning of the year can be found in today's Back to School insert in the Havre Daily News.
Thanks for reading.