By SHARON KARIS | Norwalk
NOW. What a coincidence our school district’s acronym is NOW, for truly NOW is the time to secure our future not only for our students, but also for rural communities and villages alike.
As much as we would like it to be, today’s world is nothing like the one we grew up in; it is very competitive, and just like any good business, our school must keep pace with the field. We have a great opportunity to add the last piece of the puzzle to our school district, which will not only ensure our existing students receive the best opportunity to achieve their goals, but also will give us the advantage of wanting our young people to stay here and to raise their families here and maybe even bring in a few new families.
Yes, $24.9 million is a lot of money, but the district has been awarded nearly $5 million, which is also a lot of money to “throw away” if we don’t do this project. That is 20% of the project.
This project is not about fancy frills and extras! The N-O-W School District was one of only two in the entire Midwest to receive a $2.6 million FEMA grant to be used towards the construction of a “safe room” or storm shelter area. This storm shelter/multipurpose room/gym area is the only addition going onto the building. All other money is being spent on upgrading/reconfiguring existing space to meet the changing needs of our teachers and students.
I realize budgets are tight and things are expensive; I myself am on a fixed retirement budget, but I feel this is the best use of my money, because if we don’t upgrade our school, families will continue to move away to go where their children have better opportunities, and as our teachers retire, it will become increasingly difficult to attract new teachers from the small pool available.
I say, let’s not go down that road, for if we lose families, we lose businesses, and with both we lose tax dollars, so our taxes would go up anyway with nothing to show for it and we would be living in a depressed area.
The maximum tax increase of 30 cents per $1,000 of valuation of our properties is less than the cost of one family meal per year for most of us and less than the cost of a grocery store trip for others with larger properties. I say, let’s invest in ourselves, our livelihoods and our communities.
PLEASE VOTE YES ON APRIL 4.