To the editor:
I’ve been reading and saving all the letters sent in by folks from both sides of this school issue.
Funds spent on schools have always taken up the lion’s share of money brought in through taxation for as long as I can remember and it’s not likely to change regardless of how the vote turns out on this referendum.
Upgrading and maintaining our schools is a game that’s never going away.
I’m pretty sure that everyone wants to stay ahead of the curve and have modern, attractive facilities well as thriving programs and top-notch education for our children. Management is key to accomplish this.
I remember when I was little we used to get the Sears wish book in the mail after Thanksgiving and we’d watch the Uncle Wynn show on TV after school where he’d show you all the latest and greatest toys for Christmas. You could work yourself up into an absolute frenzy wishing for all the stuff you just couldn’t live without.
We kids were convinced that we’d all be scarred for life if we couldn’t get what we wanted and get it now! Obviously we weren’t old enough to understand that real life doesn’t work that way. You got most of what you wanted come Christmas morning, but not all of it.
Most everything that’s been proposed I don’t have a problem with, especially the upgrades to the school buildings themselves, extra restrooms where needed, upgrading support buildings, improving the track, better lighting, etc.
Two weeks ago on my way to work they said on the news that some school in Fort Wayne was putting in artificial turf to the tune of $950,000. They were told that the life of the turf would be somewhere around 11-13 years. I don’t known anything about turf, but it doesn’t sound like that great of a thing if it won’t last at least until you get your 15 years of debt with interest paid up. But hey, if you want to try out a field of it, knock yourself out.
The April 10 paper stated the current support houses are 4,410 square feet and need redone for $330,800. You also want to build additional support houses adding 13,633 square feet to the tune of $2,610,000. Those had better be some mighty high-quality buildings capable of many uses for that price tag!
I won’t try to list everything that’s been proposed, but I understand that the total price tag for all this is something around $37 million. Add in the interest and fees and the total cost ends up around $57 million. Wow!
Folks, somehow we slowly but surely have got to get out of this rut of being continually in debt and dumping millions of dollars in the toilet and throwing the lever. This is a cycle that will never end, and that money is gone with nothing to show for it. Fifteen years from now the same condition will exist as further renovations will be needed in other areas of our school system if not sooner. We’ve got to turn this vicious cycle around even if it’s only in small increments until we finally see a real difference.
“Tax neutral” doesn’t really mean a whole lot. Inflation alone will eventually cause costs to go up. That’s why it’s so important to get a grip on this continual debt problem.
Keep in mind our schools aren’t the only game in town. Community corrections facilities, a new jail coming, bridges, etc. are still going to have to be addressed and the bills paid.
Yes, I agree, we should strive to give our kids the best there is to offer. But at the same time we better be showing some respect to the folks who pay the bills and make sure every dollar counts for something and isn’t just dumped down the sewer.
Finally, I want to talk about this monster $8.6 million field house. This sounds like a really neat and useful facility, but since the uses for this building are mainly geared for everything except academics it really needs to be a stand alone project taken on by DeKalb Central, its student body, and the community as a whole.
For any of you who were around here in the late ’60s and early ’70s and remember, the ACD Museum was nothing but a broken down shell of a building. Some key people had a vision and took on a grassroots effort to save it. Through hard work and dedication by many, look at what it is today, a world, first-class museum!
Look at the NATMUS museum. I can’t begin to list the number of talented, devoted folks who put time, effort, money, resources and anything else they had to give to make it what it is today.
The same goes for Rieke Park, which started with the donation of land from the family. It grew from there.
There are many other examples around here locally if you take time to look.
With the proper fundraising, the “bare bones’ building including insulation, heating and air conditioning, restrooms, lighting and a suitable floor could be completed in a relatively short period of time. At that point, it’s ready for a number of uses mentioned in some of these letters to the editor.
Over time as funds come in, you finish it in phases to suit your needs and wants. Each time you complete one of these phases, everyone can look at what they did with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Right now you have something going for you that many of the projects listed above may not have had.
There’s this massive cheerleading group out there right now working to get the schools everything they want and they’ve planted red “yes” signs everywhere you look stating so. All you’ve got to do is contact all these folks and I’m certain they would be happy to open up their wallets to you to make this happen. Contact these people who live all over the county cheering you on through their letters to the paper. There are businesses and organizations as well who would contribute, as great schools and facilities attract more people into our community, we’re told. I’ll even bet that some people with “no” signs in their yards would also contribute when they can actually see results for their money.
All of this would get you off to a really good start.
If you’re not entirely sure how to make this “building in phases” thing work we have some very wise people in our community who have done this before. You talk to them and I’m pretty sure they’ll explain and show you how to do it.
In some of the articles I’ve read I see terms like participation, teamwork, better physical and mental health, better grades, sense of accomplishment, Baron pride, etc. If the student body dedicates themselves to a project like this, they’re likely to gain all this and more. If something’s not worth working for, it’s probably not worth having.
There’s a letter in the April 18 Star written by Todd Sanderson of Auburn. It is one excellent letter telling it like it is. I suggest a person should read it twice.
Some of you may think this letter is some kind of joke. I assure you, it someone or group tries to turn this into reality, I’ll be the first in line to write a $1,000 check toward the cause, and there aren’t even any signs in my yard.