To the editor:
Once again, residents of Indian Creek School District have failed to pass a levy to build a new high school. When is the school board going to stop taunting the people who have repeatedly rejected this issue? The denials are not a repudiation of the students' needs, but more of a realistic evaluation of the affordability vs. the justification of a new building. The people understand when they are being threatened with an expenditure that is not economically sustainable in our current climate. At this time, taxpayers feel a 37-year commitment with a $29 million expenditure is not reasonable and somewhat irresponsible. With a shrinking population, no new jobs, our steel mills shut down, no tangible signs of area growth, majority of residents on fixed income, etc., there is no assurance of optimum usage of a new building. Without young families moving in or staying here after graduation, our schools would be stressed just to survive.
It is disingenuous for the board and the superintendent to orchestrate a campaign that panders to the baser emotions of the residents by implying that a new building is absolutely necessary. Also disturbing is that private citizens and organizations who who do not reside in our school district have ingratiated their endorsement of a levy that others have to pay for. The residents are intelligent enough to understand when a levy is necessary commensurate with other options without being coerced or guilt ridden. Playing on the emotions of the public with the rhetoric of "It's for the children" or "It only costs the price of a Starbuck's latte" is unfairly condescending.
The fact that Indian Creek students earned a superior rating with the state testing is a pragmatic testament to the real cause for success. It is not the building that yields these results, this is the product of good, dedicated teachers and effective teaching techniques. It is obvious that based on the student scores we have the ingredients necessary for a quality education. There is a viable solution to the paranoia emanating from lack of space and disdain for the detached modular buildings. The school is performing very well academically, so it appears the main problem is lack of space. This does not require building a whole new school since more space can be affordably achieved. Let's resolve the problem without building a new school by adding a wing to the existing building utilizing a one-story flat roof strand steel structure on a slab. This can be done locally without state involvement or mandates with a .5-mill levy for five years.
The school board must stop proposing exorbitant levies and be more responsible and accountable by seeking other options the residents are willing to accept. Success is not measured by money or new buildings - real success is achieving your objective with improvisation of what you have now to meet your needs with the least possible cost to the school district and the taxpayers.