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Letter to the Editor: Pec schools have kept public informed
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The opinion piece published in the Monroe Times on Jan. 9, 2008, was full of misinformation. The Pecatonica School Board voted Jan. 7 to hold a referendum for $175,000 for each of the next two years. The board did not make this decision easily and it did not make it in a vacuum. While the Monroe Times may have not been aware of the discussions that have been ongoing, the Pecatonica Valley Leader covers every school board meeting and has written about the possibility of a referendum for several months now. As early as last Jan, 18, 2007, the Leader carried an article on the front page entitled "Pecatonica School Board braces for $100,000 plus budget shortfall in 2007-2008."

The Pecatonica PTA also has been trying to educate people about school funding and how schools ultimately have to go to referendum because actual costs increase more than the revenue caps, causing an annual budget shortfall. We have hosted three different speakers talking about this subject, and were very frank about the fact that a referendum was in our near future.

Also, in December, the board put an informational survey on the school Web site and passed out flyers at the winter concert to let people know about the survey.

During all of this, the Monroe Times has not attended any of the PTA forums or any of the regular or special sessions of the Pecatonica School Board.

While delaying the formal vote about whether or not there would be a referendum this spring, the board was determining how much to ask for on the referendum. They had to decide what the district could live without and what they could not cut. Pec was a low spending district in 1993 when revenue caps were put in place and there is not much left to cut. But under severe budget constraints, we try to provide the best possible education for our students.

Referendums are hard on communities. The Pecatonica School District would be far better served if the Monroe Times would check their facts rather than publishing sensational, but wrong, stories to increase sales.