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As a resident of the fourth largest city in the state, I can easily see the impact state funding has on the smaller, rural schools surrounding me. I know from experience growing up and living in a small town myself that rural schools are the heart of our rural communities. They already are under the strain from high busing costs. They have a smaller tax base than urban areas and if just five kids leave a public school for private, that represents a loss of $33,000 to a local school. How many kids can leave a rural public school for a private one before the public school closes? The economic impact of a smaller town losing its school would be devastating. How many people will move out of that town to be closer to that private school? How long before businesses close and move also? Why would a family with children move into a town with no school and no business?

These connections are not hard to make. If our legislators vote to approve a school voucher system, or educational savings accounts that prioritize private schools in larger towns, our smaller public schools along with our smaller rural towns will fade quickly into oblivion. - Jackie Stellish, Sioux City

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