I have owned property in the district for 10 years, been a Tukes Valley parent for nine, and have worked in the district for the last four. I am voting yes for the Battle Ground Public Schools construction bond because I want to live in a vibrant community that contributes to a strong and healthy society.
The reasons to vote yes for Battle Ground schools are numerous. In this letter, I focus on how school construction is funded and use an analogy to explain why our 40- to 60-year old schools need to be replaced.
Glenwood Heights, Laurin, and Pleasant Valley schools have served beyond their lifespan. This is apparent with a simple visit to the schools. If you are unable to visit, consider this: What would your house look like after 60 years if it saw as much use as our schools?
For eligible buildings, the state provides construction assistance for up to 90-square-feet per student in grades K-6. If you could get state assistance for your 1,300-square-foot home, it would house 14.4 students.
These 14 students will be in your 1,300-square-foot house — walking on your carpet, sitting on your furniture, eating lunch in your dining room — for six hours per day, five days per week, for about 36 weeks each year. Many students will stay beyond this to participate in after-school activities.
Then, invite the students’ families into your house several times for school events, and rent rooms to community organizations for their meetings and events during non-school hours at a non-profit rate.
That’s just the inside.
You also rent your yard to sports clubs and organizations nearly every evening to practice soccer, rugby and football (in their cleats), and rent to them on the weekends for their games, complete with all the spectators parking in your driveway and walking across your lawn.
For the past 12 years our residents in the south end of the district have helped pay for the six new schools in the central and north, while simultaneously watching their buildings deteriorate and enrollment grow to the point that classrooms are overcrowded.
A community bond is the only way districts can build new schools. It has been that way since the birth of the public school system in our country. Just a century ago residents came together to build schools with their own tools and bare hands. Some donated the materials while others gave their labor and still others donated the land on which to build.
Within our much larger communities of today and with our tax structure and government, the process for building new schools has changed, but the idea is the same. The community comes together to build safe, energy-efficient schools in which students learn and grow and become the next generation that provides for generations to come.
Our community will thrive only if we vote yes on Feb. 13.