Valparaiso grassroots forms group in support of school referendums
Yes4Valpo, a grassroots coalition of public education advocates in Valparaiso, has formed to support passage of two public school funding referendums. Both will be placed on the May, 2015 primary ballot. One referendum is dedicated to funding the restoration of staff cuts brought on by budgetary cuts downstate, and the other is designed to fund school building renovations and new construction.
By law, school corporations, their employees and school board representatives are limited in the ways in which they can advocate for passage of school funding referendum. "Building support for these types of funding initiatives falls on the shoulders of the citizenry and rightly so," stated Yes4Valpo member, Elias Crim. "We're fortunate that in Valparaiso, there has for years been an ad hoc group of parents, retired educators, business people, civic-minded community members and students who regularly advocate on behalf of our schools. It is from this loose coalition that Yes4Valpo was born."
The twin referendum are the result of planning by the Valparaiso Community Schools (VCS) administration and Board of Trustees, and is driven largely by public school advocates including substantial public input. Once passed, the increased funding will bring VCS people, programs and facilities into the 21st century, a recurring theme echoedÂ during public discussions held over the past two years.
"What is important to remember here is that these two referendums are inextricable parts of a whole," said educator and Valpo resident Deb Porter. "State law requires that funding referendums be split apart on the ballot, but in Valparaiso, neither portion can lead to success without the other."
The primary goal of Yes4Valpo will be to communicate both the details and importance of the two referendums through online and in-person advocacy. The group is already connecting with the community through its Facebook page and will extend their reach with a variety of constituencies throughout Valparaiso through their website, www.Yes4Valpo.com.
"We've already spoken with scores residents who have indicated willingness to help out," according to group spokesperson Christopher Pupillo. "A big part of our effort will be a get-out-the-vote campaign to include yard signs, buttons, and possibly newspaper ads."
The group, which has applied to operate as a political action committee (PAC) as required by law, is looking to the Valparaiso business community for help in fundraising to support their public awareness campaign.
Individuals and organizations interested in helping the Yes4Valpo effort can learn more at www.Yes4Valpo.com.