Letter to editor stock art - old mailbox

My name is Eric Songer. I have been a teacher in the Eastern Carver County School District since 1997. I have also been a Chaska resident since 2004. I have two kids who go to school in this district.

I want to encourage you to spend a little time getting to know how important the passage of this referendum is that will be on the ballot this fall. In my 24 years teaching in this wonderful community, I can share with you endless stories about how properly funded schools can make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of students.

I have watched students discover and reach their dreams. I have watched students figure out that they matter and they can find happiness. I have watched students achieve at elite levels in a wide array of professions and careers.

I can also tell you first-hand how devastating it is when a referendum fails and how this negatively affects students, their families and our community. I have watched both parents and students turned to tears over what the lack of funding has done. I have witnessed students discover they can’t take certain courses anymore and watched them say goodbye to their favorite teachers who were let go despite being amazing educators.

I have personally had to cut my curriculum and eliminate units and courses that students called the “most meaningful” or “their favorite” because there is no longer enough funding. 

We are in a position, where we NEED this referendum to pass. The failure of the last referendum and the pandemic has resulted in a great loss of learning and many opportunities taken away from our students.

This referendum is the first step in a long line of steps that we will need to take to be a district and community of excellence. If it doesn’t pass, subjects and programs that are hanging by a thread right now may not survive. More teachers will be lost. And most tragically, our students will lose even more opportunities to become successful, happy, well-rounded people.

We cannot afford to fall further into the hole we are already in. Passing this referendum is vital for the future of our community.

Please consider voting “yes." Our students and community deserve the best. We are counting on you. We need to start the climb back.

Eric Songer