Says School District at Crossroads - The Missourian: Opinion

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Says School District at Crossroads

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Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 6:32 pm

To The Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Education of the Washington School District —

Next Tuesday, April 2, voters will have an opportunity to allow the Washington School District to achieve its goal of providing 21st century learning for our future generation.

Prop R Right Now for Children poses two questions. Question 1 is a $9 million no tax rate increase bond issue that will provide wireless technology infrastructure across the entire district, construction of a new Early Childhood Center, HVAC upgrades to Augusta Elementary, and classroom additions at Marthasville Elementary. With the passage of Question 1 we will be able to deliver curriculum much more efficiently and effectively. We will be able to consolidate all early childhood programs into one setting and be able to deliver curriculum in a much safer environment. Question 1 will help us with overcrowding in the classrooms as well as provide for a better environment overall for all of our students to learn in.

Question 2 is a $40 million tax levy increase that will allow the district to construct a new middle school consisting of grades six to eight. Also included is a conversion of the middle school into an elementary school, which would be comprised of students from South Point Elementary and Fifth Street Elementary. These two buildings are in need of major repairs and the board of education believes it is not in the best interest, as stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, to continue to put Band-Aids on buildings that are not sustainable for this future generation. The sale of these buildings will provide much needed income that will go into our capital projects fund. In turn, it will also potentially allow transfer funds to the debt service fund up to a certain limit. This will help us manage some of our current debt through refinancing or early payoff.

The needs of this district have not changed. The long-range plan set forth by our focus group and the board still remains the same. The focus group and the board have gone back to the drawing board and are now asking the voters to accept a smaller piece of our plan. We still recognize that to stay on par with this ever-changing global economy we are faced with providing a solid education for our future generation and maintaining and attracting new and bright young teachers, administrators, and support staff, while being fiscally responsible with the tax dollars we manage.

This board owes it to the taxpayers of this community as well as the local businesses to provide the best of the best for our future generation! Please help us in our journey to make this happen for the good of the whole community! This truly is a partnership, so let us stand tall and show our surrounding communities that we are truly leaders and partners in education!

On behalf of the entire board, I would like to say thank you to all of our focus groups which include parents, teachers, administrators, support staff, businesses, and our local community. Last but not least I would like to thank our co-chairs, Brad Mitchell and John Freitag, for their vision, leadership, and most of all their time away from their families to help keep the mission of the school district of Washington moving forward which is providing a world-class education for all of our kids!

Please support Questions 1 and 2 on Prop R. We are truly at a crossroads for taking this school district and this wonderful community to new levels! Right now is the time! Please vote April 2, our kids’ future depends on it!

/opinion