Sure, it’s true that our state doesn’t adequately fund education, enrollment is rising, and accessibility, low classroom sizes, high-caliber teachers and functional buildings are important. It’s not that those things don’t concern me because they all do.

I voted Yes for the District 97 referenda because of CAST at Julian Middle School — a program near and dear to my heart.

Whether you have a Julian child, a younger one heading that way, or an alum, you probably know that CAST is absolutely essential in helping you raise those quirky 11- to 14-year-olds who are sometimes so awkward and anxiety ridden that school can be torturous. A program like CAST helps kids develop good self-esteem, healthy peer relationships, leadership skills and relationships with great mentors. Did you know that participation in CAST for Julian students during the school year is absolutely free and open to all? No child who wants to participate is turned away!

I just heard that Superintendent Carol Kelley met with CAST and BRAVO to say that, regardless of whether or not the referendum passed, program manager salaries will not be paid after June 30. In the case of CAST, that means the salary of Kathy Simon, whose role is vitally important.

Kathy has been with CAST for a long time. She assists Bill McGlynn (program director) with finance and budget prep; record-keeping; management; community relations; fundraising; scheduling volunteers; procurement of supplies; facilitation of communications between parents, students and staff; ticket sales; supervision at performances, and more. That’s a lot of stuff. Ask any current or former Julian student if they know Kathy, and how much her support means to them. Ask their parents too.

Fundraising to pay program manager salaries (Dr. Kelley’s suggestion) is not feasible. All money from current fundraising directly benefits students, and fundraising is really hard.

It’s not clear to me how much Dr. Kelley understands about this critical program or whether she’s had experience with programs of this type in her prior positions, but I think it’s important that she find out. If you agree, please voice your concerns in an email to ckelley@op97.org. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Linda Mosley

Oak Park

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