Letters to the Editor
To the editor:
Lumberyard Arts Center board of directors would like to thank all of those who came out to enjoy an evening of food, music and community fellowship while supporting efforts to fund the renovation of a downtown landmark into a community art center.
Special thanks go out to Gloria Roach for arranging for the wonderful music for the evening and for securing sponsorship of the bands from Heritage Tractor, Christopher Leisler, dentist, and McFarland Aviation.
Baldwin State Bank and Mid-America Bank donated generously to help cover costs of the wonderful food that was served. Sonic Drive-In donated buns and napkins; Hickory Creek Barbecue donated barbecue sauce, ladies of the Hestia club for the yummy homemade cookies, especially enjoyed by the band. Baldwin Junction Greenhouse and Cranberry Market supplied beautiful mums to brighten the night and 128 creative and colorful “pigs” by children of the community decorated the entryway.
Once again, the talents of Chris Lorenzen are lauded not only for the “piggy” flyer that we look forward to each year, but also for the pattern for the coloring contest.
Thanks also go out to the men of Delta Tau Delta for helping with setting up the tables, and the women of Phi Mu for providing ice.
We are blessed to be working with such a supportive community and look forward to serving you in a facility that you will be proud to say you had a part of building.
Diane Niehoff, president
Lumberyard Arts Center
To the editor,
There are well-meaning, good people on either side of the bond issue in question. Careful, thoughtful comments have filled this column during the past several weeks. But, for me there are a few basic truths that cannot be ignored. We cannot deny the need faced by those who teach, those who learn, and those who perform in our schools. The needs are real. The needs don’t disappear because of challenging economic conditions. They will be with us until we do something about them. It’s what we do that counts.
Our children benefit or suffer from our decisions and actions. Our children are powerless to make any of the changes necessary for a full, well-balanced, 21st century education. Instead, they look to us to know what must be done and provide what is needed. It’s what we do that counts.
We can’t turn back the calendar in order to do something that might have been done more easily at an earlier time. Neither can we anticipate that it will be easier tomorrow – or next year – or a decade from now. Indeed, it is more than likely that it will only be more difficult. What we do know is that the children attending school next year – and the decades that follow – will benefit to the degree that we accept our responsibility now. These children are ours. The responsibility is ours. It’s what we do that counts.
Vote “yes.” Do what we must.
To the editor:
I urge you to vote “yes” on the USD 348 bond issue on Nov. 4. Extensive thought and planning has gone into the details of this proposal by members of the community, school staff and the architects. The biggest item on the bond issue is funds to build a new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center near the existing Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center. Evaluation of the current primary center indicates that it would not be cost effective to continue to invest in this older building and that the site is too small to meet current—not to mention future—needs. The proposed bond issue seeks to provide students with high-quality facilities in the most fiscally responsible manner.
If we fail to pass the bond issue on Nov. 4, district patrons will probably end up paying more for school facilities in the long run. Several factors are as follows:
1) The strong likelihood of higher interest rates in the future. Right now, low interest rates would result in significant savings on the bond issue.
2) The possibility of unfavorable changes in state support for new facilities, which at present are generous. The state will kick in 27 percent of the cost of the bond issue and will provide an additional 25 percent of the base state aid for each student in new facilities for two years.
3) Without a successful bond issue, the district will likely be forced to spend much of its limited capital outlay funds (allocations for non-instructional costs) just to keep the primary center habitable in the short term, leaving other needs, such as investments in technology and other items linked to student achievement, short-changed.
Surrounding school districts have been busy upgrading school facilities and this partly explains why many of them shoulder higher school tax mill rates than Baldwin’s. (We had the fourth-lowest rate among 13 nearby districts as of last year). Are these high costs for education worthwhile? I think so. As we move into the 21st century, an increasingly global society and economy provides new challenges and new opportunities. Competition for good jobs is increasing. People move internationally for better employment. Jobs are routinely outsourced to workers around the world to provide the best product for the cost. A good education is a key to success in this environment. Students with weak math, reading, technology and critical thinking skills face tougher odds. Preparing students for life in this changing world is a daunting task for schools. Providing modern facilities for modern learning is one important part of the puzzle. Please vote “yes” for students and their future on Nov. 4.
Baldwin School Board member