Get involved with school project now

Friday, November 7, 2003

Whether you favor or oppose the plan the combine East Ward and North Ward at the North Ward site, one important point was hammered home at Thursday's special meeting of the McCook school board.

It's all about learning.

We tend to get hung up on bricks and mortar, bond issues and taxes. In the end, what students learn and how well they retain it is all that matters.

They say there's nothing more frustrating than not having the right tool for the job. More than one handyman has suffered skinned knuckles because he lacked the proper wrench, and many a plumber has been called in to clean up after a hapless do-it-yourselfer with a flooded basement when all he wanted was a new drinking water system.

But children are far more important than any weekend project. Their educational careers, even their entire future, could be compromised by crowded classrooms, distracting learning environment or teachers so tired of struggling with inadequate "tools" to do the job.

There are many reasons not to commit to building new school buildings now. The economy is picking up, but unemployment and under-employment are higher than they should be. McCook's population is aging, and many retirees on fixed incomes are having trouble making ends meet.

The state of Nebraska may be facing a $200 million budget deficit, and cuts are likely to put more upward pressure on local property taxes.

The city of McCook is struggling with its water supply, and water users have seen their bills multiply over the past few years, with more increases certain and the city settles on a solution.

The W Design proposal may be all wrong. Bricks and motor cannot offer the single answer to a problem as complex as providing a quality education as efficiently as possible.

But, interest rates remain at historic lows, and borrowing money can only become more expensive if the project is delayed.

But now is the time to get involved with the decision. Let your school board members know your concerns and suggestions. We must all work together for the good of our children and our community's future.

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