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Staying Focused in Challenging Times

Article Date: 
25 February, 2011 - 06:00

By Superintendent Ken Adams

It is difficult to keep abreast of the many major events transpiring in our world today. The continuing recession, governmental upheaval in the Middle East, the escalation of commodity prices, and catastrophic weather occurrences are just a few.  All of this and more is enough to make your head spin!
In Utah the annual session of the Utah State Legislature has taken center stage.  Lawmakers are bantering back and forth creating new legislation and balancing the state budget.  You can count on public education being a topic of discussion each day the Legislature is in session.  I have been assigned by the Utah School Superintendents Association to serve as an alternate on the Joint Legislative Committee.  This group meets each Friday of the session to discuss and take action on bills that have a connection to the Utah School System.  Thus far it has been an interesting and learning experience.  This experience alone is also enough to make your head spin!
Thank goodness language in the Utah State Constitution creates and protects our public education system.  Knowing that the voice of the people will be heard in our “Constitutional Republic” (the politically correct term coming from this year’s session) gives students, parents, and educators some sense of security as the session comes to a close.  Public schools will still be funded and hopefully the level of funding will allow our students to receive the services they need and deserve.
Over the past two years more than 25,000 additional students have entered Utah Schools.  This year alone our district experienced a four percent growth (99 students) in our student population.  To date, this growth has not been funded by the Legislature.  We expect a similar pattern of growth during the 2011-12 school year.  These students require additional textbooks, supplies, desks, materials, and most importantly, teachers.  
In the Morgan School District the echo of our pioneer heritage still rings through the hallways and classrooms of our schools.  Regardless of the obstacles placed before us, we will march on in pursuit of our goals and dreams.
As educators, support staff, parents and community members our mission is clear:  We stand united in the pursuit of academic excellence for our children.  Literacy and numeracy are the foundation of learning.  Students graduating from our system are to be prepared for meaningful work, advanced education, responsible citizenship, and life-long learning.
The Morgan County Board of Education, administration, teachers, and staff pledge to the parents and citizens of this county that we will do our very best with the resources available to provide a quality education to your students.  We will stay focused on our task in these challenging times and be true to our pioneer heritage.  Unfortunately, this commitment will become even more difficult; Morgan County Schools are reaching a critical stage and soon will be forced to increase class sizes and reduce services to students if growth and essential programs are not funded.
Governor Gary Herbert has proposed in his budget ways in which the Legislature can balance the state budget and at the same time fund the growth of new students.  Representative Mel Brown and Senator Allen Christensen have indicated they will work to do all in their power to meet the needs of public education.  We call upon legislators from across the state to do likewise.  If we fail to properly educate the students of today, we will all pay a heavier price in the decades to come.