Letter to the Editor: Residents need to support growth with school construction
I just read the letter from Barry D. Miller in the May 11 issue of the West Fargo Pioneer and frankly, my head hurts. I don't want to label those with views opposing the school board as "close minded, petty, etc." However, when the alternatives he suggests we try are renting space in Fargo, building portable classrooms and increasing the school day, I have to wonder... Mr. Miller, do you have children in this district? And if you do, or have in the past, how do you think they would feel about these options? What happens when we try these suggestions and a few years down the road we are still having space issues? Do we eat the costs of the portable classrooms, space rental, bussing the children next door to Fargo and covering the cost of staffing longer days? Where will we get the money to cover those costs to begin with?
I don't think you can call it a 'blank check.' The school board has done its homework. In the past referendum proposals, I've heard comments that the school board wasn't fully prepared because they couldn't predict when the next buildings will be necessary or that they under-projected in the past.
Well, we can check that one off because the board has hired an outside firm to project the future numbers as accurately as possible and we've just seen the census numbers.
I've also heard that if the community wanted or needed this, the election wouldn't keep failing. Well, if we followed the suggestions in Mr. Miller's letter, we would have to continue bringing this issue to the polls every year because there wouldn't be enough revenue to support each building needed. Plus we would be operating backward rather than forward in having the space needed. What does that accomplish? And when do our children and educators finally reap the benefits?
I also take issue with the opinion that we are just being 'materialistic' because one mother wasn't happy about the aesthetics of the STEM center. The issues we're having go way beyond that. If that was a concern, we would've been building newer elementary schools 20 years ago instead of just giving them facelifts. Our issue is space, not how it's decorated.
I don't think that deciding when to build that second elementary school is going to be an issue either. Just because it's not needed this year doesn't mean it won't be needed. For goodness sake, just take a drive around the southwest part of Fargo (our school district) and southern West Fargo. Anyone can see by the constant state of construction that our city is growing and we need to support that growth.