Home Opinion Editorials ENTERPRISE SETS EXAMPLE FOR STATE
ENTERPRISE SETS EXAMPLE FOR STATE
Hats off to Enterprise. The community and former Enterprise residents and grads are coming through for their schools.
THE ENTERPRISE EDUCATIONAL Foundation's efforts to save programs in the wake of budget cuts is setting an example for the entire state. As enrollment has declined the past couple of years, so has the district's reimbursement from the state. The result has been substantial budget cuts and the elimination of 16 teaching positions. This year, whole programs were put on the chopping block.
But Enterprise citizens said they wouldn't stand for it. Programs such as agriculture and home ec and art appeared doomed until the foundation stepped in with a goal to raise $300,000 of tax-deductible contributions a year. Last week the foundation announced it has raised enough to spare the ag and home ec programs and keep at least a minimal art program in the elementary school. The foundation working toward raising enough money to provide a full art program.
SO FAR, ABOUT 400 people have donated, and more donations are arriving every day. About 20 percent of the donations have been unsolicited, coming from people who heard or read about the Enterprise schools' plight, said Mike Wiedeman, foundation president.
The success of the foundation's efforts, not to mention the fact that Enterprise approved a school bond measure in May Â— demonstrates the value Enterprise citizens and grads place on their schools. They aren't about to stand still and let the state undermine their schools.
FOR ENTERPRISE, the school funding woes began before the state's economic downturn came into play. Declining enrollment is the culprit, and the state has no solutions for addressing such a problem. Cuts due to the state's declining revenue are still pending, depending on what the Legislature produces in the special session that convened today. One thing is almost certain: schools like Enterprise that have seen enrollments decline are about to get a double whammy. Enterprise Superintendent Bill Eggers estimates his district could lose another $200,000 from next year's budget if the Legislature doesn't come up with replacement revenue in the wake of the Measure 13 defeat in the May primary.
Enterprise has done what more communities should be doing. Citizens are demonstrating that schools matter and they are not willing to give up whole programs.
If only the Legislature had the same commitment, determination and guts as the folks in Enterprise do. But there is a limit as to how far a community can stretch its resources. Because of Measures 5/50, finding more than short-term solutions is out of the hands of local citizens. The ball's in the Legislature's court.