I have been sharing more of my experiences lately so my blog folder is getting thick with topics I would like to share, but I need to focus this post on this evening’s PTA bond meeting at Lake Wilderness Elementary. As we get closer to the vote, more and more questions are being asked as people decide how to vote. Having these opportunities to share the need and describe our experience is critical. Unfortunately, the turnout for this and others is not large considering we have over 24,000 voters in our school district. Tonight’s turnout of around 80 was good compared to many in the past, but it thousands more need the information to make an informed vote.
Many thanks to the PTAs for hosting this event and Tanya Donahue for being the point person, facilitating the evening, and sharing her experience as a student in a year round, multi-track school system. Once again, community members Sean Stewart and Jim Hutchinson did a great job of sharing their thinking on the importance of the bond measure and answering questions. They were followed by two high school seniors, Emily Pierre and Josh Tavener, who did an incredible job of sharing their experiences in our system and on the importance of voting.
We have learned that one of the messages that is going around the community is telling people to vote NO this time because we have included more than we need. By voting NO the board will then come back with a smaller bond package. As I suggested this evening, that may not be the case. There are four major projects on this bond measure that add up to $115 million of the total $125 million. I struggle to see how the board would eliminate one or more of them. The projects are designed to create new seats and replace portable seats by building a new elementary, replacing Lake Wilderness Elementary, and adding on to both the junior and senior high. We don’t have space for the projected enrollment increases without new seats.
Another of the messages we are receiving refers to the auditorium at the high school as not necessary and a frill. This mental model has been in place for many years and two previous bond measures that failed have reinforced this mental model for many. As we know, mental models are difficult to influence and this one seems to be particularly difficult. The auditorium is a part of any comprehensive high school in this area and across this state. We do not currently have a performance facility at our high school for our young people to showcase their talent as those that participate in sports and other activities can do. It is a facility that will meet academic, performance, and community needs.
What concerns are you hearing and/or have that need to be answered as you make a decision on this critical system need? What questions can you answer with factual information? We need all the help that we can get to distribute the information into the hands of the voters.