Time to Move Forward - The Missourian: Opinion

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Time to Move Forward

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 5:32 pm

To The Editor:

It is with great honor that we serve as the co-chairmen of the Citizens for Great Schools. This group makes up volunteers who truly value education, our community, and most importantly, kids!

The Washington School Board has placed Proposition R: Right Now for Children on the ballot. The district and their focus groups have re-evaluated, listened, and put a proposal out that really makes a great deal of sense.

The needs haven’t changed, and the integrity of the long-range plan still exists, but addressing it in parts versus all at once is the approach before voters on April 2.

Proposition R is about achieving the academic mission of the district. It isn’t just about buildings, it’s about learning environments, safety, maintaining quality class sizes, preserving programs, 21st Century learning tools, retaining good teachers, and so much more.

Voters will be asked to weigh in by answering two separate questions. Question 1 is a no tax rate increase bond issue that will address $9 million in projects that include: modernization of classrooms with wireless technology upgrades, construction of an Early Childhood Center, the Augusta HVAC renovation and classroom additions at Marthasville.

Question 2 asks voters to consider a $40 million bond issue for the purposes of building a new sixth- to eighth-grade middle school, while also converting our current middle school to an elementary building. Question 2 does require an increase to the tax levy of 25 cents.

For a home with an assessed value of $200,000, the increase is equivalent to approximately a quarter ($0.25) per day.

Should questions 1 and 2 pass, the district would be able to eliminate the lease payment associated with the 12 modular classrooms in place to deal with overcrowding. As you may be aware, five of the district’s buildings are at or beyond their capacity. That means there are not enough classrooms to serve the children.

This also means improvements in the area of safety, teaching and learning occur. It also preserves class sizes, most transportation and programs like gifted, preschool, music, art and athletics.

Please join us in supporting Prop R. Economic development, community vitality, quality education, and a bright future for Washington are important to us.

We hope you will refer to information on the district’s website at www.washington.k12.mo.us for all of the intimate details.

We literally have studied the issues for two years; it’s time to move forward right here and now.

Thank you for learning all you can and please vote on April 2, 2013.

/opinion