Commentary: A proud 'yes' voter for B-E school
By Janice Campbell, Brandon
Although the B-E district referendum did not pass on the first try, I was/am a proud "yes" voter. I was not voting against anyone. On the contrary, I was voting FOR the kids, staff, families and communities that make up district 2908.
It has been clear that there is need for improvements — so nothing has been accomplished yet. In fact, we may be farther behind than we had been. The longer it takes to do anything, the spendier it gets.
People that voted yes have been told we are part of a "throw-away society." I would disagree with that. I bet the school board would entertain any reasonable offers for the buildings, which would save them from demolition and save money for the district and its taxpayers. Great idea!
What makes me curious is why there was no outrage when the 1917 portion of the Evansville School was first deemed unusable or unsafe a few years back. I have to believe that most people understood why that was the case. To get that portion up-to-code would be costly, plus you would need four separate elevators to make the school accessible to all people.
As for the Brandon School, there are portions that are in decent shape, but when you start adding up the "just fix this" or "just remodel that" or "just add on this" or "just add on that" the totals come surprisingly close. If you have ever worked on a remodeling or addition project to a church or commercial facility, you find out how much a seemingly "small" project can cost.
From what I understand, the MDE recommended only fixing up one facility for our district. This actually would be beneficial as they would only have to maintain one building, including one cafeteria, media center, band room, choir room, main office, weight room, shop area, FACS room, art room. That's a lot of doubled-up space currently. And would save on supplies that have to be duplicated to have in both schools, and time for the teachers. Plus, administration and those traveling could be in one building and more accessible.
There may be some items that the school board can tweak before the next election, but please remember that constructions costs don't go down, only up. Interest rates are at an all-time low, and there are many programs out there to help farmers and those with fixed incomes. Things that have to be cut to get the cost down initially may have to be added later and at a higher cost.
Now is the time we need to think about our future. Please think about how many young families would move into our district — in all towns included. If there is a project in place, they will find a spot that they can afford and be ever thankful to grow up in our rural area. It is a great place to raise a family.