The last word on the MCCSC referendum

Harmon Baldwin says just about everything that needs to be said about the Monroe County Community School Corp. funding referendum in a recent guest column in the Bloomington Herald-Times.

Read it if you haven’t already, and if you have an H-T online subscription. If you haven’t, and you don’t, drive to 1900 S. Walnut St. and pay 50 cents for a copy of the Oct. 19 issue. It’s worth it.

Baldwin was superintendent of the MCCSC from 1984-87. He cleaned up a mess left by his predecessor and put the district on sound financial footing. His H-T guest column is straightforward, logical and informed — no scare tactics, no appeals to false emotion, just a clear statement that education is important, to students and to the community.

To skeptics who question whether the MCCSC has done enough belt-tightening, he says, the question “is valid and it’s comparative. What’s enough?” Administrators and experienced teachers have gone without raises. Their insurance costs have increased. Programs have been cut and class sizes have ballooned.

“If the voter is looking for a reason to vote ‘no,’ it can be found,” Baldwin writes. But it isn’t administrators and school board members who lose if the referendum fails. “We are talking about a quality of educational opportunities for the young people of this community. Their lives and their futures rest upon the decision that we make when we vote on question No. 2 in this election.”

At 88, Baldwin agreed to take on a leadership role in the referendum campaign. He has even been out canvassing, knocking on doors to encourage people to vote yes.

“I won’t live long enough to see us reap the benefits from funding generated by the passage of the referendum,” he writes, “but others will, and that makes my efforts meaningful to me.”

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School referendum count-down – barely a month to go

The days are ticking down to the Nov. 2 election and the school-funding referendum for the Monroe County Community School Corp. – 33 is the count-down number on the “Vote Yes on #2” website.

But it remains hard to get a read on how the community is leaning on the referendum, and whether supporters or opponents of the 14-cent property tax increase will be more likely to vote.

At a public forum last week at Bloomington High School South, at least some people were champing at the bit to support the campaign; and they sounded a little frustrated at the lack of opportunity.

Questions from the audience of about 50 people included: When can we get yard signs? Can we make T-shirts with slogans? Is there a pro-referendum Facebook group? Can we get kids together to make pro-education posters? How do we contribute to the PAC that’s funding the effort? (You can donate online).

On the other hand, there were questions that sounded like ready-make excuses to vote no: Why didn’t the school board lay off administrators to cut spending? Why didn’t the teachers’ union agree to bigger wage sacrifices? Why were administrator contracts extended? Continue reading