Education has played a large role in my life. As a lifelong student, a former public school teacher, and director for our educational foundation, I am asking everyone to take the time to vote Tuesday for Proposition T.
Growing up here in Excelsior Springs, I was part of the class that had to perform their plays and musicals in Roosevelt, because the Performing Arts Center hadn’t been built yet. It was during this time that I learned to be resourceful! With no hot water in the building, we brought in an electric skillet to heat the water up that we needed to mix paints for the set. Due to the large amount humidity in the building from rain water always getting in, there was always mold and mildew growing on the costumes that we had to wear. I can also remember using a bucket and broom stick stacked on top of each other in order to keep the ceiling in the wings from falling on the actors on an opening night show. It would take another two years before a bond could be passed for us to have a new Performing Arts Center built for our students to learn in.
Now, we are faced with the same decision we were twenty years ago. With this being a no tax increase bond, it would be silly of us as a public to say no to the benefits that this will bring for our students. Here are five reasons why I encourage you all to vote in favor of this proposition:
While serving as Chamber Director, often I would meet potential hires from our community’s largest industries to talk about the benefits of living in Excelsior Springs. At times, I would meet them at the schools that their children would be going to. There are individuals that have given feedback regarding their concerns from seeing the conditions of the schools, specifically Westview Elementary. This bond measure that is before us this week will allow for a new Early Childhood Center and new elementary building to be built. This is something our kids deserve and need.
Our children’s health is most important, especially given the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic. When there is mold and mildew that is growing in the walls of the school buildings, it’s time to fix the problem. Our district is going to need the room to space our children out, as a direct response from COVID. We cannot continue to put our children and staff members health at risk.
Older buildings means higher utility costs, when systems become outdated and unable to keep up. This measure will allow for districtwide improvements to occur at Elkhorn, middle school, the high school, and early childhood center. If the bond does not pass, the improvements would not occur and we would risk having future ballot measures to address what is needed now, which also comes at a taxpayer’s cost.
The district is doing what they can to assure better safety for students with this approval of this bond. The district has fully committed to free bus transportation for all students pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade. This is out of response of a lack of sidewalks that run along Wornall, which the City is still working to find funding to create. In addition to the busing, the district will also be able to partner with state agencies to build storm shelters for both Westview and Elkhorn Elementary.
With aging properties, the district will be forced to continue band-aiding major issues in order to get by with the budget they have to work with. Due to the school board’s responsible position in paying down debts, we are eligible for the opportunity for a no tax increase bond to be presented. The investment to improve our schools will need to be made if not this year, then in the near future. Now is the time to make the long term investment to care for the maintenance of our buildings so our tax dollars won’t be wasted.
Just like we did before when we didn’t have a performing arts center, we get to decide what kind of a community we live in for tomorrow. This Tuesday, I encourage you all to get out and vote for Proposition T and give our students the future they deserve in the very best learning environment.
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