By Aimee Bingham Osinski firstname.lastname@example.org
The September 16th Board Of Education meeting was filled with strife. It also included a donation that highlights the strength of the community and just what motivated community members can accomplish working together.
During the school presentations portion of the meeting, a representative for E4DS was asked to come to the podium to speak. Excellence 4 Dexter Students was founded in 2015 by a group of engaged parents discussing the cause of some decisions made by the Board Of Education, including pay-to participate and single-tier bussing. The parents determined the issue was funding instability from the State of Michigan legislature. The parents took the time to become well informed on how school funding actually works. One thing the parents learned is that Dexter is not allowed to raise funds itself through the tax system for classroom programming. Proposal A, passed in 1994 put an end to that in an attempt to make schools across the state more equitable. However, some schools, like Ann Arbor and Bloomfield Hills were still allowed due to drastic cuts per pupil their districts would face. So, the disparity between Dexter and certain schools exists. Further, the amount of budget money sent back to the state for things like teacher retirement increased tremendously. In 1994, when proposal A passed, the amount that went back to the state was 14%. Now it’s up to 38%. Thus schools struggle to stay afloat.
During 2015, when Dexter explored the annexation of Whitmore Lake schools, these same engaged parents decided to come up with a way for local businesses, community members and families to support classroom programming that would otherwise go unfunded. They wanted to provide a way to replace programming millages, that Proposal A banned Excellence 4 Dexter Schools was created. Since its inception E4DS has donated $150,000 to the Dexter School District. The money has been used to bolster the math and science programs for 3-6th graders and It’s sent 6th graders on a week long college experience at Eastern Michigan University.
During the E4DS 10 minute presentation, an audible gasp came from the audience as the announcement was made; E4DS was donating $23,000 to the district for mental health programming. The Board of E4DS are parents within the district and last Spring they coordinated with the districts focus on mental health. Elise Bruderly, E4DS President explains that, “The Dexter School District, lead by Superintendent Chris Timmis, has taken a personal and local approach by engaging parents and community members through education and workshops.” The money will be used to continue to support these programs as well as provide direct programming in schools at every grade level. To follow how the donations are used find E4DS on social media or check out their website. They will be posting updates throughout the year.
If community is defined by how we help, support, and welcome others, E4DS is proof that Dexter, no matter the struggles and squabbles, is a wonderful community. If you’d like to donate or learn more about school funding, information can be found at www.E4DS.org. If you have questions or would like to volunteer, email info@E4DS.org