On November 3, Wabaunsee county community members will be voting on whether or not to pass a bond that will address the needs of the district. It will specifically go towards renovating or existing school buildings and creating new buildings to create a better learning environment for students and faculty.
Bringing in a new bond would likely be a big change for our district, and it may be our best option to ensure success in our students and provide them with a better environment to learn.
Passing of the bond would allow for students and teachers to better collaborate. “The best that we can do is to put our kindergarten and preschoolers together and let them learn together from preschool all the way to the 12th grade. The best we can do is put our teachers together in a learning environment where they can collaborate and have consistent goals and messages for all the kids,” school board member Justin Frank said.
It would also allow for Career and Technical Education classes to be introduced to students from a younger age. This could take care of intro classes earlier, giving students the opportunity to take more advanced classes in high school. The biggest pros would be upgrades to the CTE classrooms, like the shop and the Family and Consumer Science classroom. It would also allow for less traveling between schools for the teachers that do so, and safer facilities for the entire district.
It’s difficult to argue that our facilities are fine as they are, especially when you are not a student or staff member who is in the buildings every day. Anyone can feel free to come by and tour our falling ceiling tiles, bats in the old building and the auditorium littered with dead flies. The previous bond was used for upkeep and it simply is not enough to just keep patching and fixing things. Schools are the most important buildings in a community, and their upkeep is important. The building benefits lots of other members of the community every day, so it’s beneficial to everyone to keep them in good condition. If we were to continue pushing off the bond, the facilities will get worse and worse and it will eventually become more expensive to rebuild the way the current bond proposes.
There are some negatives that would go with passing the bond. Students may have to temporarily move for construction. It would also raise taxes in the county, although the current bond is set to expire soon so the price would likely not raise by much. The auditorium has yet to be addressed on the bond, raising the question of where we’ll put the space for performances.
The construction plans may not be set in stone yet, but that is for good reason. It would not prove to be a good choice financially to design an entire school and get concrete plans just for the bond to not pass. In a district already tight on money, this would not be beneficial at all. We’re at the end of what we can maintain now financially. Had the school been taken care of earlier, these problems may not exist but we are not able to go backwards in time, so we need to take care of these issues now. Pushing it off will only perpetuate the problems.
It’s clear that community members may still have a bad taste in their mouth following the previous consolidation of the district. There isn’t much to add to that except it might finally be time to move on from a decision made in 1976, before even most parents of current students were alive
It’s also contradictory to point the finger at poor teaching to argue that we do not need new facilities, and also make the argument that our students have been extremely successful in the past. It’s undeniable that a better facility would allow for a better learning environment, though it is true that good teaching can come from anywhere, as evident in our district. It’s also untrue that the district is failing to spread information. There have been several town hall meetings and at least half a dozen stories posted by The Charger alone, not to mention stories posted separate from the school. It’s difficult to hold meetings during a pandemic, but now that it’s dying down and rules are less strict the district is hitting the ground running in order to spread the information they have on the bond and educate as many community members as possible.
We may just be students, and many of us are not yet engaged in politics or tax policies, but this election absolutely affects us. The bond will last 20 years. Even if we will not learn in a new building, our families will pay the taxes, and we will if we choose to continue living here. Current students will likely have children of their own in 20 years, and the decision where to raise them will definitely be affected by the quality of schools.
Whether you’re voting yes or no, it is important to vote and understand fully what both options mean for you and for the district. Vote not only to benefit yourself, but vote to benefit the community you belong to and the future students and citizens.
The editorial is the opinion of the Charger staff. Send letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.