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Letter to the editor: Increase in taxes worth impact it will have on children

 

Hello Jamestown friends, I am writing in support of the Jamestown Public Schools referendum. I am a concerned parent of children who have been in the JPS system for nine years, and I feel this small increase in our property taxes, only about $13 a month on the average $100,000 home, is well worth the impact it will have on this community’s children (this is far less than most of us spend on fast food in a month).

These are important updates that need to happen in our schools. In a 2014 facilities assessment, all elementary schools and the middle school scored poorly on air quality. They need their 1950s boilers, roofing and windows replaced and HVAC systems updated. I would hate to see an outdated boiler give out during the coldest days of winter, requiring the school to shut down, parents scrambling for child care and JPS trying to find funding to get the school reopened in haste. These maintenance needs are the largest and most important piece to the referendum.   

The second-largest piece is to close Washington and create an addition to Louis L’Amour.  This decision was based on more than five years of thought and consultation. Robert Lech and his team have spent many years working with many different committees before reaching this conclusion that the best possible path for our school system is to close Washington. Anyone interested in the process can read about it in the Board Memo on the Referendum 2018 page of the JPS website. Lech, the entire school board and the Citizen’s Advisory Committee understand the emotional attachment to Washington school and Ernie Gates Football Field. I am certain this decision was not taken lightly and if there was a better solution they would have found it over the last several of years of study. And even better, that they have an interested buyer that can repurpose Washington school into affordable housing.

With respect to the football field, if JPS sells the Washington school building they cannot keep the football field in that location. The high school campus is the best and safest place to have that field, not at an elementary school. And the bonus part of having the football field at JHS is that they would be able to make it a multi-function athletic complex to benefit not just the football team, but also track and field, marching band, PE classes and others. To put it into perspective, this multi-functional athletic complex would not be the largest piece of this referendum funding.  It’s important to remember that the largest quantity of this money will go directly toward fixing, repairing and maintaining the buildings that house our children’s education!

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