Monday, September 01, 2014

Does a vote ‘No’ mean we don’t care?

5/10/2013

“Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.” — Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

The Concerned Patrons of USD 287 group had a goal to inform and educate voters about election issues in a timely manner. Making sure all patrons were presented facts concerning the West Franklin bond issue — thus giving everyone a fair chance to make their voices heard, and ample time to ask questions.

“Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.” — Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

The Concerned Patrons of USD 287 group had a goal to inform and educate voters about election issues in a timely manner. Making sure all patrons were presented facts concerning the West Franklin bond issue — thus giving everyone a fair chance to make their voices heard, and ample time to ask questions.

Our efforts forced the school board and superintendent to address issues publicly — continually showing the voters a bond package riddled with questionable cost estimates and expenditures, neglecting repairs on existing facilities to save money and overlooking and ignoring the potential for “full” use of our already established school buildings.

Bond proponents are blaming their neighbors for refusing to vote for the bond. Bond opponents are blaming school district officials for putting up high-priced bond proposals in the middle of a recession. Instead of blaming each other, both sides should recognize that neither is to blame. Relationships and responsibility are the core of any school program. Communication is the key, and trust is essential.

To the best of our ability, we have put information before you, hoping you would see our concerns. It is now up to you to do what is best for your families and for the children of our school district. All we ask is that you think cautiously before you vote.

Ask yourself these questions:

• Do you spend money on things that can possibly cause long lasting hardships on your family?

• Do you choose grandiose athletic facilities over educational needs of students?

• Do you pass a frivolous bond that would put financial hardships on all families for more 30 years? (That’s not including additional taxes placed on us by the county or state over that same time period.)

Do you honestly think a vote “no” to this bond means we really don’t care what happens in our local schools? Taking the time to listen to school board proposals, coming to a conclusion that district patrons needed to be better informed, is not the actions of someone who doesn’t care.

We care about the future of our children, our schools and our communities. Do the students of the West Franklin school district understand both sides of the issues of this bond? No they don’t.

As their guardians, it is our duty to make hard decisions on their behalf. Our actions are preparing them for real life situations.

Our right to vote is one of our greatest rights and is reflective of our values, principles, and all we hold dear. How important is an educated population? How important is a quality education? How important is a quality, safe, secure life full of potential, knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill a dream and make a positive difference in the world? We have the responsibility of deciding, and the impact of our decision affects many lives and many lifetimes.

May we choose wisely so that our decision benefits and works for the greater good of all.

I cannot in good conscience recommend approval of this West Franklin bond.

Stop the bond.

Re-examine our district needs.

Advance with confidence.

— Sandra Milliken,

Williamsburg

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