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Push for education doesn’t end with governor’s proposal

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Previously, in theJan. 9 edition of the Oldham Era, Dr. Will Wells, Superintendent, Oldham County Schools, submitted an article calling for legislators to step up for education. His voice ignited a spark in the Oldham community, and potentially further, that started people talking.

During the weeks that followed, Parent Teacher Student Associations, faculty members, individual students and members throughout the community began talking about the need for increased funding for education. Emails and texts began propagating networks as both parents and students began taking their cause to the internet as they voiced their concerns to the legislature through legislative internet input portals. Some citizens even took the effort to write a traditional letter in order to personally voice their concerns.

Three weeks later news media are filled with articles of Governor Beshear’s landmark address to the Assembly and his budgetary proposal to restore over $370 million to education funding. Did your actions have a direct effect and result? Possibly…but make no mistake they surely did not adversely affect the ultimate outcome. Given today’s technological data transfer rates, the power of social networking and the automated capabilities of legislative internet sites we can safely assume that at least some of your concerns were read and heard. Can you make a difference? Will you be heard? Do leaders really listen to their constituents? The answer is a resounding – YES!

We couldn’t be more proud of the governor and the members of the assembly as we recognize the courageous effort this must have been. A budget is about choices and often very tough ones. In an austere funding environment with competing demands, budgetary decisions can be both controversial and emotional.

Restoration of $370 million to education funding is an investment in the development of the educational talent management of our children and by extension an investment in the future of our Commonwealth. Our investment will yield multiple returns. Industry will hires graduates from within Kentucky instead of importing them from outside the state. High caliber, highly educated graduates will draw corporations to our state. Since national statistics have shown that quality education has an inverse correlation to crime rates, community quality of life will increase as well. This is all great news.

However, our work as constituents is far from done. As a matter of fact, it has only just begun. Oldham County citizens must vigilantly monitor the ongoing status of education funding and the educational needs of our children. We must not allow this initial success to lose momentum because to do so would defame the monumental legacy our leadership has intended to leave us. The road to continued success will be rough. In order to facilitate success, our community is gathering to form a “grassroots” organization focused on being the voice of our students, details of which will become available in future articles.

I thank Dr. Wells for being the “mouse that roared.” To readers, I challenge you to continue to voice your appreciation and concern and call you to action. Go to www.lrc.kygov and email your Senator and Representative. Thank them for supporting education funding and encourage them to maintain the initiative. “Be the spark…to start the fire…and fuel the flame, that shines the light for a brighter future for our children and Kentucky.”

Mr. Jasinski, a member of the SOMS PTSA, is a resident of Crestwood and father of four children attending Oldham County schools. The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.