A 5.5-mill levy on the Aug.
6 ballot in the Field school district will provide it with a stable source of funding that will enable the schools to recoup some of the funding lost in recent years and, most importantly, restore some of the course offerings and services that have been cut.
The Field district, which serves youngsters in Brimfield, Suffield and part of Kent, has faced financial challenges for several years and has been unable to convince voters to approve additional funding. There has been no new money from levies since 1991.The district has lost $1.6 million in state funding, which has added to its woes.
In order to make ends meet, the district has cut spending by $1.5 million in the past two years and is operating at close to state minimum standards. It has reduced course offerings, including physical education and art, cut busing and reduced spending in other areas. Teachers have been under a pay freeze for two years and are among the lowest paid in the state.
Despite this, Field has been able to maintain its Excellent with Distinction rating on the state report cards and takes pride in the education it is able to offer its young people.
The 5.5-mill levy, which runs for three years, includes four mills for basic operating expenses and 1.5 mills for permanent improvements. If it is approved, it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $173 in additional annual property taxes, which is less than $15 per month.
This is the fifth levy attempt in two years. Those who might view the levy bid as an opportunity to "send a message" to the board or the school administration ought to remember that it isn't a referendum on leadership but an appeal for the funding needed to provide a decent education for the young people who attend Field schools.
We strongly recommend a "Yes" vote on the Field levy.