Fairview Park residents proved this week that they care for their school-age children and know they need to be fostered, challenged and given the absolute best tools to thrive in college and beyond. Residents last week approved Issue 72, the district’s first request for a new operating levy in 14 years. It passed with 64% of votes in favor (6,247 votes), compared to 35% against (3,469). The five-year 7.9-mill levy will take effect at the start of 2021, saving the district from deep budget deficits and deeper program and staffing cuts.

By approving this levy, residents prevented drastic cutbacks. Proceeds will allow the district to:

– Continue athletics and student activities

– Avoid double-digit reductions of teachers and support staff

– Maintain smaller class sizes

– Avoid bus cuts

– Sustain academic improvements

– Keep technology up to date.

What was avoided? The cancellation of all winter 2020-21 and spring 2021 sports and extracurricular activities, including all sports, marching band, theater, clubs and field trips.

Transportation for students (public and private schools) would have been reduced to the state minimum effective Jan. 1. Only students who live 2 miles or more from their school will receive transportation.

The worst cuts? That would have been the laying off of more than a dozen teachers, staff and administrators. The student-teacher ratio would have gone from about 20:1 to 30:1.

None of that will happen, thanks to homeowners who have accepted paying $23.04 more per month per $100,000 in home value.

Reporter Chris Voloschuk writes in this issue about the gratitude of administrators, teachers and even coaches that the levy passed. “The feeling is tremendous relief, and a whole lot of joy,” district Superintendent Bill Wagner said. “We had a lot of people work for a very long time trying to communicate to our community just how needed this operating levy was. We’ve talked about it for the last four years in our State of the Community addresses and kind of planned for this time.”

And we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to express our admiration for Fairview Park voters. You proved that you value a community’s greatest asset: its children.

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