To The Editor:

The voters in the Warren County School District have before us a decision on Aug. 6. It is a 39-cent increase in the tax levy per $100 assessed valuation. On the surface, you may respond as I have previously, “Why can’t they just cut in other areas and make it work with what they have?” After years of questioning, I chose to involve myself and now serve on the board of education.

This increase will take sacrifice, though I believe the investment is the wisest choice forward. Schools educate students and shape them for life as do parents. Studies bear out several factors are most important for student achievement and we are missing the mark in two of the top ones – staff retention and student attendance. We need support from you in both areas.

The reality is our district lacks income competitiveness for our staff. This includes support staff and educators. The funds will go to improve salaries for all staff. A 30-year career teacher in the district stands to earn $300,000 less than districts in St. Charles County who pull from our staff every year.

So why can’t we just cut in other areas? Since our last tax levy increase in 2004, the cost of insurance has risen $2 million. We cut $1 million in expenses last year. The funds are just not there. This increase will narrow the gap enough to be competitive. It is a decision that I support and ask you to consider.

Dr. Chad Smith

Wright City

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