Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of our community members at backyard gatherings and park events. We want to thank every resident, volunteer and host who attended a gathering or welcomed us into your neighborhood to talk about school funding and the referendum. We appreciate your time, your understanding and your support.
What I learned during those meetings and the November 3 election is that our community loves and supports our schools. People understood that our schools are significantly underfunded, and our budget challenges are real. Yet, now is not the right time. We understand that this is a difficult time for many.
With rising COVID case counts, students in distance learning, and our hospitals nearing capacity, we are committed to supporting families—providing free childcare for essential workers, meals for children, access to internet and broadband and quality instruction for students. Our staff has shown strength and resilience in adapting as needed and our summer planning has allowed us to move between models. When we work together as a community, we are optimistic we will get through this historic time.
As we embark on our planning for next year, we will need community members involved in the planning and decision-making. After all, you are the owners of our schools—and we have some difficult decisions to make, which will need community input.
The budget challenges we’ve faced are not going away. Due to the current funding challenges, we will have at least a $1.7 million shortfall in the next budget cycle. After cutting $7.5 million dollars over the past two years, we are already one of the lowest spending districts in the state and the reductions that are needed will balance the budget for fiscal year 2022 only. Without a funding increase, we anticipate facing more than a $1.7 million dollar shortfall the following year, continuing until revenue or funding does change.
We are in the process of assembling a community task force to address the District’s dire budget situation and plans for the future. We understand these are hard times. We need to support each other and work toward creative solutions. Our children’s futures depend on it. Right now, they need us to work together to create the best path forward. Our students are the future citizens of Cambridge, Isanti and rural Minnesota. Let’s work together to find solutions.
If you can share your time and experience to serve on the task force, please call our office at (763)689-6202 or email email@example.com. We need our best minds working together during these difficult times.
The children in our schools today will face challenges not experienced during childhood since the Greatest Generation. They will be asked to perform in jobs not yet invented and to solve problems that they inherit. Growing up during a pandemic, they will learn the value of life, family and life-long learning. They will be more adaptable, tech-savvy and resilient. Our students continue to inspire us to be our best every day...and keep getting better. In turn, we must continue to inspire them...Every Student. Every Day. We will get through this together. We are responsible and resilient —the Bluejacket Way.
Thank you, Cambridge-Isanti, for your continued support.
DR. NATE RUDOLPH is superintendent of Cambridge-Isanti Schools. He can be reached at 763-689-6202 or firstname.lastname@example.org.