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Kamiah levy: ability to invest in children

Letter: Jeff Whipple, Kamiah

It was astonishing to see how much local communities, such as Nezperce, Grangeville and Orofino, have supported their public schools. The fact that Kamiah has passed one levy for $100,000 since 1996, while our neighbors have supplemented millions to keep their schools financially above water, says a lot. Perhaps the Kamiah school district should be applauded for their budgeting tact, while receiving very little community funding. However, I in no way support cutting any more school programs and/or teacher benefits. In fact, I believe the levy should have been increased to a level that would regain those previous losses. By not passing this levy our schools would fall even further behind our other local communities. We have already lost several hardworking and cherished teachers, administrators and students to surrounding communities.

The fact remains that our school district has gotten through these tough times by dipping into the surplus that was created by the federal forest funds. This surplus has run dry. Federal and state budgeting cuts have left us with the unfortunate realization that it is up to us. Together, like our neighboring communities, we have the ability to invest in our children and community.

Idaho currently ranks 50th in the amount of funding they give per student. Shame on the state of Idaho and the federal government for not putting our children’s education and all of Idaho’s wonderful communities first. Shame on us if we, as a whole, decide to draw a line in the sand at the local level and do the same.

I write this letter on the day that I am proud, honored and humbled to say my oldest son, a current Kamiah High School student, will play Taps at a local funeral. His musical skills are courtesy of the recently cut music program, while he was in our junior high. How many of our children may never get the chance to realize their hidden talents and passions?

I am a local taxpaying, Idaho County landowner. Please join me in saying yes to our children, yes to our community, and yes to our future.

Please vote yes in support of our levy on March 11.

Jeff Whipple

Kamiah

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