MORE LETTERS ON THE REFERENDUM
Friday, May 02, 2014 11:00 AM
To the editor:
Shall Madison Consolidated Schools issue bonds or enter into a lease to finance the renovation of and improvements to Madison Consolidated High School, E.O. Muncie Elementary School and Anderson Elementary School, which is estimated to cost not more than $40,470,000 and is estimated to increase the property tax rate for debt services by a maximum of $0.4028 per $100 of assessed valuation over the 19-year life of the bonds?"
Many thoughtful arguments have been presented pro and con in regard to the school bond funding referendum.
It comes down to the funding and whether this is the best use of taxpayer money. Arguments in support of increasing our tax rate do not provide convincing evidence of improved outcomes. Is that not what we all want?
Wishful thinking is insufficient, as is throwing money at the problem. More buildings do not better educate our students or improve test scores. If health and safety issues need addressing, then let's continue and discuss that, not the need for new buildings. Important questions need to be asked and answered: How did the school board and administration allow things do things to deteriorate to such an extent? Was no provision made for ongoing maintenance over the years? Who is responsible ?
Are there other solutions to examine rather than raising our taxes?
Private schools with limited resources have better student outcomes. With increased use of school vouchers and charter schools could we improve school performance?
In a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Josh Mandel argues that we need to bring back shop class and emphasize its use as an avenue to make students job ready. ( http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303663604579501801872226532 ). Not all students are college material. Not all students need to be college ready.
As we as a community look for improved outcomes, there are also societal issues that need addressing such as teen pregnancy rates, single parent homes and lack of parental involvement in their child's education.
This additional taxation is a burden on those on fixed and lower incomes. The tax increase is not insignificant. A study by the Tax Foundation found that Indiana residents are paying an increasing percentage of their income on state and local taxes at the same time as they were experiencing shrinking incomes.
Finally, the most succinct perspective on this issue was authored by Mr Warren Auxier. I would recommend that all voters read his opinion published in The Madison Courier, April 26, 2014.
Vote No on the referendum on May 6.
Dr. Willem Kruger
To the editor:
I have been blessed to work with many outstanding students and professionals as principal of Madison Consolidated High School. I hope you have seen the outstanding work our teachers and students are achieving in academics, arts, clubs, and athletics. Over the past four years we have experienced a positive transformation with our high school's image - this is what I call "Cub Pride."
For many of our students, school is the best part of their day. This is home - it's where they learn, eat, play, and receive hope for their future. Part of our responsibility as a community is to pay it forward by investing in our student's learning environment.
MCHS has educated many of our family members and outstanding citizens over the years; we want to continue to provide the best possible education. While we continue to improve academically, we need your help in order to provide our children with a safe infrastructure.
Public education is the great equalizer for our society. Our schools give everyone a chance to use their God-given ability to be successful in life.
Our students need to know that their community cares about them. A vote "yes" is not only an investment in our infrastructure, it is an investment in our children's future. Let's give our students and community hope for a brighter tomorrow. Please vote yes on May 6.
To the editor:
No longer a taxpaying citizen of Madison, it is not my place nor position to express my support or negation of the (school referendum) proposal. I do however find it my place to bring to light the blatantly obvious underlying problem negatively affecting all schools in Jefferson County, and honestly, the community as a whole.
To me the most important question, which is so apparent, yet is not being asked, is what purpose is being served by having two separate school corporations in this community?
Two corporations that realistically will never be able to provide Jefferson County students with the necessary support, facilities, and quality, independently as they ever could as one singular integrated corporation due to budget mandates by the IDOE.
Compared to a community of similar student populous, Jennings County, which has one high school and one middle school - both of which are ahead of Madison or Southwestern in terms of facilities, equipment, and fiscal stability - Jefferson County taxpayers must share the responsibility of maintaining two high schools, two middle schools, two superintendents, two administrative staffs, two transportation systems, two athletic programs. I think the theme is redundant.
Rather than resolving an issue that is self-inflicted, and can be logically solved, we instead illogically ask a proletariat community for more money that frankly, it wouldn't need if it would simply restructure. Renovate MCHS as the High School: sophomore through senior; MJHS is renovated and becomes the freshman campus; renovate SWHS to exist as the middle school, and all other elementary schools in the county are left as they are.
Bottom line is that it is fiscally irresponsible in Indiana's current education climate, and unfair to the students of the community to maintain two school corporations which have faulty educative facilities, obsolete athletic facilities, and dated transportation. Imagine what the youth and leaders of Madison and Hanover could accomplish if they were united on all fronts - academically, athletically, and artistically.
Championships could be won, state-of-the-art facilities built, and dreams of our small community could come to fruition. I find it unrealistic that our community ever acts to make this aforementioned dream a reality until Superintendent Glenda Ritz forces this to happen through state mandate.
One word that holds Jefferson County together is simultaneously the same word destroying it, on multiple fronts: pride.
Vanity in the doltish thought that Madison is "better" than Southwestern and vice versa. Prideful in the fact that each corporation thinks it can survive indefinitely on its own without the support of the other - such as when one reaches out for help from another the gesture is denied: which exemplifies more ignorance than leadership. Both corporations have done this to one another at one time or another in the past decade. Arrogant in the fact that the divisions of this community think that they don't need each other just as this community thinks it can survive without outside industrial growth and business - proven through the repetitious vetoes it has placed upon businesses trying to join the community. Belterra anyone? Switzerland County Schools gain an unbelievable amount of revenue from that business annually - one that we could've had but our community voted against it.
Isolationism will ultimately cause both school corporations, and this community to die a slow death. Citizens such as myself who leave Madison to gain an education frankly have nothing to return home to even if they want to. There are no jobs, no promise, the young educated population is, and will leave to become self-sufficient elsewhere, and it is becoming less and less opportunistic for families to better themselves and their families in this community - genuinely I deeply fear this trend will continue until it's too late for our beautiful, historic community.
Shaun D. Pennington
MCHS Classs of 2008