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Lost revenue due to pandemic threatens public education

A story that appeared in Saturday’s weekend edition should have everyone worrying about the future of education in the Upper Peninsula and beyond.

In the story, local superintendents of schools voiced downright concern about what expected state revenue cuts to districts might do the quality of education available to students.

These combined voices followed an op-ed recently published in The Mining Journal by Bill Valima, who works as superintendent of schools in the Superior Central district.

With eloquence and passion, Valima expressed worry, concern and, indeed, anger, that local districts are simply expected to deal with whatever hand is dealt them, financial and otherwise.

Let us take this opportunity to support not only Valima but the other superintendents noted in the Saturday story.

The Associated Press recently reported that the state is facing more than a $6 billion revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year and the next one, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How that kind of red ink will impact individual spending areas — on everything from the environment to law enforcement to education — remains, of course, to be seen.

That said, however, local districts have to make plans based on best estimates. Those plans include not filling open positions and voluntary severance options, for example.

Everyone expects cuts; how much is anyone’s guess.

We sincerely hope decision makers in Lansing and Washington take into consideration how important public kindergarten through 12th-grade education is when crafting assistance legislation.

These are our children, our future. And they need our support as much as banks and corporations.

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