Talking it over: Thoughts on referendums
There are two big issues on the ballot for Hancock school district voters, two referendums, one a renewal and one new. To me the renewal of the first referendum is a no-brainer. The school needs this money to continue to operate and definitely needs support from voters who will not see a tax increase because of it.
The second referendum may be a little harder to swallow for some people since it will mean an increase in taxes during a time when every dollar is important. I can definitely see the need for this project. Not just in the construction of the extra classrooms but the updating and renovation throughout. Just like in our homes, things need to be upgraded and replaced periodically to keep a building functional, efficient and comfortable.
Our students need a good environment for learning. They need fresh air that can come through more modern air exchange systems. They need good lighting that can come through new windows and lights. They need room to expand that can come through proper classroom sizes and they need the latest in technology and equipment that can come through new infrastructure.
When I think about these needs, I also consider what my home, or any home or business in Hancock and the area, would be worth if we lost our school. I am sure the farm land would still be valuable but would we be able to keep our children here or hire the help needed if the school and subsequently the community, started to lose people.
I have attended the school board meetings where board members have struggled to find alternatives to what they have seen as a good problem, increasing enrollment. That positive growth has sparked the need for more classrooms and alerted them to the need for upgrades in other areas of the building. They have searched every option available and come up with this plan that addresses all the needs through one project. We need to remember that this referendum is not just for new classrooms but for a major remodel throughout the majority of the school.
When I first saw the figures that estimated how the project would affect taxes, I was concerned about how my husband and I could come up with the extra money for the tax increase. However, I then broke the amount down by month and even by week and the increase did not seem quite as bad. Spread out over a year, and just adding a few dollars a month to our escrow, should cover this increase.
I encourage everyone to give this some careful thought and read the materials thoroughly. Board members and school administrators are also available to answer questions and give clarification of the plans. You might even want to take a look at the building and areas that are proposed to be remodeled through the project.
Our district needs our support to continue to grow and give students the best learning environment available. We already have the best teachers. Now we need to give them a good place to teach.