Tuesday the residents of the BG School district will decide to move forward or remain in the past. For over a year now we have heard pros and cons of the building plan and how it will affect multiple segments of the community. While I sympathize with those who will be hit hard with this plan, I need to base my decision on what I believe to be in the best interest of my children.
First, we need more space. The average size of a kindergarten class at Kenwood is 17, at Conneaut it is 24. That disparity should make everyone unhappy. It also shows a major flaw in our current three elementary configuration. The new elementary building would have an average kindergarten class size of 21 this year. Evening out class size across the district leads to smaller class sizes. Smaller classes lead to the teacher in the classroom having MORE time for individualized attention. We can do better.
Next, our schools need to be as safe as possible. They need to be safe from those who might want to do our students harm. We have the boot installed in all our classrooms, and this is a step in the right direction. But this plan does better. The new space would be built with required safety features as a part of the building, not as an afterthought. After attending the building tours it is evident the current buildings were not designed with this type of safety in mind. Our police and fire divisions have weighed in with support, that alone should be enough to warrant support for this plan.
They also need to safe for everyday events like drop off and pick up. Transportation and traffic concerns have also been brought up as reasoning to keep the current three elementary configuration. I have observed children being dropped off and picked up in all weather, some coming from just down the street from the school. Through our actions, the parents and guardians in this district have spoken. And it is overwhelmingly in support of driving students to and from school instead of letting them walk or ride bikes. The new building from design to construction will be able to address this and make drop off and pick up the safest experience possible.
Finally, the largest argument for this project seems to be cost. It isn’t a small project. It could have been if past administrations would have addressed the needs. But they didn’t, and this is where we find ourselves. I do not have high school students. However, I did take the tour of the building and have talked with parents who do have children in that building. We could drop money into our buildings and they could go another 20 years. But then we would be back where we are now only dealing with an 80-year-old building. That is a bad investment when the alternative are buildings that will address educational needs in the district far longer than 20 years. I have been to the auditors website and calculated the increase for my family. For the facilities we would get, it is more than worth the expense.
My decision is based on the research I have done and what I believe to be in the best interest of my family. It is not influenced on what is going around social media. It is not based on what is fair, our reps in Columbus for the last 25 years have made sure “fair” is not attainable. It isn’t based on mailers from both sides. It is not based on yard signs. It is not based on billboard that hopefully do not contain any blunders. It is based on weighing the pros and cons of the project. It is based on what I believe will give my kids the best education possible in this community. It is based on fact.
I hope after you do your research you will join me in voting YES for this bond issue, and the giant leap forward it will be!
Matthew P. Lyons