Letter to the Editor: Need for new schools great, worthwhile investment
I am writing this letter in response to Barry Miller's "Don't give the West Fargo School Board a blank check with vote" article printed May 11, 2011. I am writing not only as a teacher in the West Fargo School District, but also as a parent of a child who will be entering the school district this upcoming fall.
As an educator, the decision seems so obvious. There physically is no room to educate these children. Drive around West Fargo and look at all the new and upcoming homes and neighborhoods. These kids are placed in schools that are already at full capacity.
Logistically, it just doesn't make sense to not build when the numbers (backed up with thorough research) show the need. Kids eating their lunch on the floor, walking down jammed-packed hallways, and being crammed into full classrooms are situations that are getting too common, which is why this referendum is "becoming an annual ritual in West Fargo." It better be, as students deserve more than this!
As a parent, the decision also seems very easy. I am greatly disturbed at the thought that my child might be graduating with a class of over 800. You can imagine how full classes will be, let alone the lack of one-on-one teaching time. Mr. Miller mentioned trying the alternatives before asking the tax payers to pay more. I am sure if Mr. Miller had children in the West Fargo school district today, he would not want to have them going to school in the Fargo district, taking classes during the evening (missing out on extra-curriculars and family time), let alone having them sit and learn in expensive (temporary) portables. That's just a band aide.
From all the meetings I have attended, the school board and Dr. Flowers have been very objective and reasonable. They state the research-driven facts and explain the need - still keeping taxpayers in mind, as they themselves are taxpayers. They know they cannot expect what others cannot afford, and I have yet to see one situation where they have tried to "shame those who have an opposing viewpoint." I think Dave Olson, the newest school board member, could speak to that, as he was an opponent to the plan last year. He became involved and through witnessing the need first-hand (more than just attending occasional meetings), he understood the importance of passing this bond referendum.
I am not sure how Mr. Miller got the idea that this money will be used for "other purposes" and "whatever they want." They are not trying to "pull one over" on the West Fargo taxpayers, and from what I have seen, they have gone above and beyond showing the need, the research, the alternatives, and the effects of both sides. It may be hard to swallow, as no one (including myself) ever wants to pay more taxes. However, I would say providing West Fargo students with a quality education is a worthwhile investment.
English I, Instructor
Sheyenne 9th Grade Center