We needed 283 votes to save our school. Little Red is a K-4 school, the only school in Croydon. The older students are allowed to choose one of the nearby middle and high schools to attend, and our district covers the expenses. That’s how the original budget worked at least.
We got our last big snowstorm in March, on the day of the annual school budget vote. Anti-public-school extremists used the resulting low turnout to slash the district budget in half. It passed and I was in disbelief. With the new budget, Little Red would close, and Croydon parents would have to pay $8,000- $9,000 per student to send them to public schools. I was devastated thinking of what this meant for my 3 children and all the students I taught every day.
Other parents felt just like I did. Stand up for Croydon Students, the organization we eventually formed, started off as just a group of worried parents trying to figure out how to protect our children. We eventually found a way that would allow for a budget re-vote, but only if we were able to turn out 283 voters. Croydon is home to about 800 people, and in my time on the school board, only about 50 of them usually came out to vote.
So, we got to work. We spent the next few weeks drafting up petitions, posting lawn signs, calling neighbors, and knocking on doors. To see so many people come together to protect our children, it felt good to know that your neighbors really care about the community.
It was the first week of May and the YMCA camp dining hall was packed with friends and neighbors. Still, we couldn’t risk not having enough voters turn up, and spent the morning calling to remind everyone how important it was to come out, vote, and protect our schools. The hall was bubbling with energy as the vote was counted, and in a landslide vote of 377 – 2, we won. Weeks of hard work paid off.
In that moment, we had stood up against extreme politicians to say no to privatizing our schools, that we would fight to make sure that all our students had a quality education. We proved that when we fight together, we win.
High School STEM Teacher, New Hampshire