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Letter: Let's see a "Plan C' for district

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By Rita Vander Kooi, Worthington

On Tuesday, I am voting “no” on my ballet for the referendum for a new school.

My husband and I have both attended informational meetings for the proposed school, as well as participated in the task-force committee. We intend to stay in this community for many years and know that the decision made by the voters on Nov. 5 has a huge impact on the community, so we wanted to be well-informed. Neither of us once left a meeting feeling confident that taxpayer dollars would be well spent on this project.

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When a community member asked why the cafeteria was too small now, even though it used to serve more kids than it does today, we were told that it now has round tables and so that makes a big difference. When asked if every kid having a school-issued iPad could reduce the number of computer labs needed, we were told, “It just doesn't work that way.” While we realize many well-intentioned people have poured a significant amount of time into this issue, we are not yet convinced voting “yes” for this is a good idea.

It would be a lie of omission here if I did not disclose that our kids attend the Christian School, although we attend Early Childhood classes at the old West building, as well as various extracurricular activities and events at the high school. Also, we own land within District 518 and are part of the farming community that will be hit with roughly 50 percent of the cost of this referendum if it passes.

Yet, it isn’t about the money and the taxes. It is a matter of being responsible to the community. If we want a strong school to build a strong community, it has to be one that doesn’t burden the people to such a large extent, just so the kids are very comfortable and ‘have space.’ It was decided that “Plan A,” a roughly $45 million new high school, would probably not pass, so the referendum we are voting on is being called “Plan B.” Well, we want this referendum voted down so we can see a “Plan C.”

Really, this current plan was NOT what the people voted for at the School Task-force Committee meetings, and in my opinion, is not the answer. I’ve heard the threats that if this doesn’t pass, it will be placed again and again on a ballot until something does. That’s fine. Let’s scale it back — no need for over-sized cafeterias, an air-conditioned shop, and all the other bells and whistles this plan includes.

In sum, I urge you on Tuesday to go cast your ballot. Vote “no,” and let’s see a “Plan C.”

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