2017-07-14 / Letters

High performing schools are vital to community

To the editor:

I urge a yes vote for our school budget. The school board and town council have worked diligently to propose a budget for successful schools with reasonable tax increase. High performing schools are vital to all citizens as school outcomes have the greatest impact on Scarborough’s future.

According to an April 2016 NPR article, supported by the Quarterly Journal of Economics 2015, per pupil spending correlates with improved student outcomes, most notably decreased poverty in adulthood and improved college attendance rates.

The most important factors for student success are class size and teacher pay, and greatest effect is seen when funding for these is continuous over time.

Teacher compensation is problematic in Scarborough; our teachers are paid significantly less than in surrounding communities (annual incomes $12,000, $20,000, and $30,000 less than Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, and Portland, respectively).

To remain competitive Scarborough must attract the best teachers, and to do that, our teachers must be compensated accordingly. Without an adequate budget, this is an impossible task.

With competition for college and jobs increasing, our students must be increasingly well prepared. For 10 of the past 15 years, 70 percent of colleges report increased applications, and extremely selective universities accept fewer than 10 percent of applicants.

Students entering the workforce also need education reflecting current workforce demands. Skills from technology to teamwork are taught in our schools via traditional curriculum and extra-curricular activities-the arts, clubs, student leadership, and sports.

By eliminating or reducing these programs, cuts will harm all students, regardless of career choice.

We owe this to our children and to our town. A well-educated population is the bedrock of our community.

With continued cutting of school services, how will our town look in the next 20 years? In the next 50? Vote yes for the school budget.

Jennifer Jubulis

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