Chesterton Tribune



New member of School Board says 'strong schools are essential, vote Yes'

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Guest Commentary

By Alayna Lightfoot Pol

I would like to take a moment to introduce myself as your newest locally elected Duneland School Board member. I am committed to serve with the utmost integrity and am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to help advance our reputable Duneland Schools, which is why I am reaching out to you now.

Whether you have a child in our schools or you are a resident of this great town, one thing is certain: A strong Duneland School District is essential for a great Duneland community for this and future generations. Each of the nine schools that make up our Duneland School Corporation contributes to the vitality of our community. As Duneland community members, we must do what we can to maintain and advance them.

Over the last several years, our Indiana public schools have endured severe funding cuts attributable to the policies established in Indianapolis by the Indiana General Assembly. Those changes to funding methods now provide state funds to charter schools and the school voucher program. As a result, Duneland has lost over $5 million.

In 2012, thanks to your support, our community passed a property tax referendum to make up for these losses. Our commitment to outstanding fiscal oversight and transparency has paid immeasurable dividends. The funding from the current referendum has allowed Duneland Schools to offer many outstanding educational opportunities such as:

Recruiting and retaining exceptional teachers and staff

Upgrading and modernizing the safety and security of our school buildings

Enhancing our Building Trades program, allowing these students hands-on experiences such as building real homes on site at CHS

Introducing robotics, engineering and science curricula and programs into all of our schools

Augmenting our library media centers for 21st century learning and collaboration

Preserving our exceptional K-12 art and music programs

Continuing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for our high school students

Expanding Dual Credit and Advanced Placement opportunities for our students, which saves substantial college tuition dollars for families

Updating technology in all buildings in the corporation

Providing a nurse AND guidance counselor in every building

Maintaining class sizes and providing classroom instructional assistants where needed

We are now approaching the expiration of the referendum. Failing to extend the referendum will result in cuts to many of these outstanding programs, which help define Duneland as one of the best districts in the region. It’s important to note that extending the referendum does NOT mean an increase in taxes, but rather, maintaining the current amounts in place. In order to extend the referendum, the school board has unanimously passed a resolution asking voters to vote “Yes” to continue the current rate being collected so that we can continue to make the right investments in our community’s future.

If you would like more information or have questions regarding the state of Duneland Schools, you are invited to attend one or more of the scheduled public meetings. These public meetings are scheduled for:

Monday, February 11, 7:00 pm, Westchester Public Library Baugher Center

Thursday, March 21, 2:00 pm, Duneland Administrative Center

Wednesday, April 3, 2:00 pm, Westchester Public Library Baugher Center

Tuesday, April 23, 7:00 pm, Liberty Intermediate Media Center

I am hoping that you will join us for some of these meetings and that you will also vote YES! with us on May 7th to sustain the vitality of Duneland.


Posted 2/11/2019




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