Letter to the Editor – How can taxpayers vote yes?


How can folks vote yes?

Taxpayers should be seeking (and getting) a lot more clear answers about the proposed new elementary school.  I’ve heard it said the reason the bond referendum failed twice so far was due to a poor PR job.  Really?  What if the promoters in fact don’t have good answers and we’re being scammed?

I don’t really know, but I’d sure feel better if I could see a lot more clarification – i.e., facts without generalities and hype.  Taxpayers don’t need a sell job; they need truth.

First, why is it that our newest, shiniest school (FMMS) continues to be rated “Needs Improvement” by the Iowa Department of Education?  They’re not giving that rating for no reason, are they?  They do know what they’re talking about, don’t they? Out of 6 possible ratings, there’s only one worse – “Priority,” which essentially means total disaster.  How has that new building helped?  How’s busing working out for everyone?

This makes me wonder if/how building a hugely expensive new elementary school is going to assure (as some promise) a “quality education” for our little ones.  Perhaps some taxpayers have forgotten that both Lincoln and Richardson schools are rated “Commendable” by the Iowa Department of Education.  Yes, there are 2 higher ratings, but does anybody really think a new school building is going to be a primary factor for improvement?  Oh, and nearly universal busing of wee ones won’t really help all that much either, will it?

It just so happens that the two present (by far the oldest in town) facilities are rated as most effective of ALL of our public schools (FMHS  is rated “Adequate”).  Why is that?

Seems to me $30 million or so could turn Lincoln and Richardson into palaces, and many kids would still be able to walk to school.  Plus, we could continue concentrating on real education.

The high school athletics thing is also a curious item.  That tells me there might be an as yet unspoken scheme to ultimately build a new high school out there in the swamp, as well.  Surely, our local powers-that-be wouldn’t be thinking that in the back of their mind, would they?

I always thought where Jefferson Elementary used to be would’ve been an excellent spot for the new FMMS (assuming we really needed one), but it’s a bit too late for that, isn’t it?  Our multi-million dollar library would’ve been nearby – oh gee whiz.

I’m really curious:  What do you suppose will happen to the east end of Fort Madison when all the swamp construction plans are finally consummated?  Are there some additional plans we’re not being told about?  I’m not trying to be snarky; I just really believe taxpayers should be provided much more solid information up front.  If we aren’t fully informed, we risk being burned by unintended consequences.

There are sooooo many unanswered questions.  Meaningful answers are long overdue, and begging for them shouldn’t be required.  April 3 is rapidly approaching.  What’s a voter to do?

Fred Bindewald
Fort Madison

About Chuck Vandenberg 5069 Articles
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