It has been a crazy few months, as I was invited to take a leadership roll with the newly created Friends of Munster Schools, as we sought to pass a referendum in our community to support the school. Funding to many public schools in the State of Indiana has been drastically cut, by the State Government with the attitude that if the money they provide isn't enough --- then the community needs to raise more money through a referendum The crazy part of all this is that the state funding is not at all equitable. If Munster were to at least receive the state average of $,5707.10 per student this would not be an issue; instead Munster receives $4,776,12 which ranks Munster 355 out of 363 school corporations.
Now that the referendum has passed, it is time to begin the difficult work of trying to get the State of Indiana to change how it funds education.
I want to thank all those who helped to get this referendum through! Those who served on the committee, and to everyone who volunteered, contributed, talked to their friends . . . We could not have passed this with such overwhelming support without all of you. I feel privileged to have joined up with so many wonderful people (many who willing supported higher taxes despite the fact that they had no children or grandchildren in the schools).
The sad part about this whole experience is that many people lost sight of the issue --- providing excellent education for the students --- and made it about personalities. Crazy! This isn't about the administration, although Munster's Administration must be doing something right since Munster is one of the top schools in the state, and recognized as one of the best in the nation.
I want to thank Richard Sopko, the Superintendent of Munster Schools! Rich has served as Assistant Superintendent responsible for finance for the last number of years, but with the retirement of the former Superintendent, Rich was hired to get Munster through this crisis. He did not take the former Superintendent's pay scale --- nor did they hire anyone to replace him. Thus, he took on a new job, while keeping his former job without an increase in pay. Not only that, but he understood what the School Town was facing and was willing to deal with the personal attacks that would come. Rich could have retired and left this mess to somebody else --- but instead he knew what had to be done, rallied the School Board and the Community and got the job done. Well done, good and faithful servant!
I hope that, if you live in Munster and read this, that you will take a moment and write Rich a letter thanking him for his leadership!
Munster Schools are great because the parents care! But not just the parents, the community cares and knows that what makes Munster special is an excellent school system.