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Support special education

September 30, 2010
The Mining Journal

To the Journal Editor:

It has been said that education is the catalyst to bring about desired change in society. It is the foundation we put underneath our children to help them develop into mature, well-rounded, successful adults. We the people need to remember that on Nov. 2, when we're asked to support special education by voting for an increase of 0.50 mills for 20 years. Although the ballot language will say "increase" it is important to know that this is actually a restoration of money previously approved by voters in both 1986 and 1995.

This is a remarkable, caring community that we live in and as a community we need to understand that if this special education money is not restored, Marquette and Alger county school districts will continue to lose approximately $579,000 in revenue in 2010 and 2011. Special education services and programs are mandated by state and federal law. If special education dollars are cut, any shortfalls will come out of the general education budget. This millage impacts all children, not just those with special education services.

As an umbrella agency for our local school districts, MARESA (Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency) is sponsoring this millage. If you are like many people you may not completely understand what MARESA is and what they do. I like to think of them as a funnel, as the money they take in flows through them to local schools in Marquette and Alger counties. Many of the speech therapists, physical therapists, behavioral consultants, occupational therapist, etc. that work in our schools are employed by MARESA.

Last November the people of Marquette and Alger counties voted no to the restoration of these special education funds. After the election I heard people say that they voted no because 1) "It will not affect my kids," 2) "What is MARESA and why do they need more money, anyway?" and most importantly, 3) "If I had known that's what the millage was all about I would have voted differently."

Now you know. Let's show our kids that we understand that their education is paramount. Please vote yes on Nov. 2.

Kelly Cygan

Ishpeming Township



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