Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Harelson Elementary School has two computer labs for students. One is a grant-funded, modern lab; the other, above, has older technology.

Fellow community members, I urge all of us to pay attention to the state of education funding in our area.

Our Amphitheater School District is taking serious cuts to their budgets which directly impact the quality of education. Children and educators are forced to play a losing game because of the financial cuts. It is increasingly apparent that we cannot depend upon the Arizona Legislature to provide the funding necessary to equip today's children for the requirements necessary to compete in America's future.

Modern businesses require employees to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to keep companies competitive. They expect entry-level employees to have basic skill sets in technology. Business and industry look for an educated and skilled workforce and good educational opportunities for their employees' children when they consider locating in our area. Emerging jobs, college degrees and career fields require 21st  Century skills.  Yet we have seen slashing of funding for education and voters turn down capital campaigns that would supply funding. We have significant challenges to overcome.

The Oro Valley Community Foundation determined these challenges cannot go unmet if we are to provide our children with a complete educational opportunity with modern technology. Unless we provide these opportunities, our children may have limited means of making a living, access to only low-level jobs or not have opportunities to gain high quality jobs.

We all need to help ensure a brighter future for our community. No matter our age or where we live in the Amphitheater School District, please recognize there is a direct correlation between the success and reputation of our schools and property values, attracting companies that provide high-quality jobs and a quality of life we want for our area.

We all can help our children prepare for a rapidly changing and highly competitive world and provide technologies that enhance learning, academic performance, and acquiring critical skills. I encourage all people in the Amphitheater School District to support the Oro Valley Community Foundation's campaign for our district schools. Your tax-deductible contributions can help, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to our district schools.

 

General John Wickham, U. S. Army (Ret.), is on the board of directors of the Oro Valley Community Foundation. He lives in Oro Valley.

 

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