Letter: Failed vote is a lost opportunity
To the Editor:
Once again Ellsworth has lost an opportunity to improve its school system. The opportunity will come again, as needs don't disappear, but then it will likely be even more expensive. Yet still worth it!
Assuming the $4,760 tax burden over 20 years per $200,000 assessed value property is accurate, as reported by the Concerned Citizens Group, the per-month cost would be about $20. Is this not worth the best education we can give to our most valuable community asset, our children?
The facilities referendum for a new centrally located elementary school would have allowed school buses to transport all-age children on the same bus to the same central area, saving time and miles of extra busing to distantly located schools, and would have allowed more uniform starting times and ending times. It would have permitted more up-to-date education methods, such as pod systems for similarly aged children, allowing better cooperation and coordination among teachers. It would have consolidated media centers. It would have provided up-to-date security systems.
Prairie View and Lindgren schools would have closed and the buildings sold, hopefully to businesses that would offer jobs.
The CCG claimed these buildings would be lost as community centers, but what community activity takes place there other than schooling? If they are kept as schools there will be considerable cost to repair or replace heating systems and upgrade security in these old buildings. Yet they will still be no better suited to educational needs than they are now, and maybe worse. It's throwing good money after bad.
The operational referendum was also defeated. This will require sharp cost reduction as the present operational referendum runs out. This could mean faculty reduction, larger class sizes, loss of some programs (curricular and extracurricular) and increased activities fees.
These are things the CCG, who complained of lack of transparency from the School Board, failed to mention in their campaign.