To the editor:

As a taxpayer in the community and a teacher at Madison Consolidated High School, I am urging the citizens to make an "investment" in our future. As a 20-year retired teacher from Charlestown High School before I was invited to teach here at Madison, I endured for 18 years at Charlestown the same deplorable conditions of an old building that I now experience daily at Madison.

But the citizens of Charlestown were smart. They invested in a new school because they realized that a school is the "center of the community."

Five years after that school opened, how has that investment paid off? First, educationally they moved from a school with terrible scores to a present-day "A-rated" school. Secondly, I am sure you have noticed how industry has built up between Charlestown and Jeffersonville.

Most of the students of that area attend Charlestown High School. And on the other side, between Charlestown and Sellersburg, they cannot build enough new homes fast enough. Those students attend Charlestown as well.

Let's see: More students/more money/ability to attract better teachers/better education. But the most important: Increased student pride in their school.

Let's talk about those deplorable conditions: Sewer smells, inefficient heating and cooling systems and dangerous electrical circuitry. In the past few days several of the bathrooms have been closed due to old lime-blocked sewage lines 30 feet under the building. Guess where all the waste went? It went into the tunnels underneath the classrooms so our students and teachers got to sit on top of and smell sewage all day.

I have personally seen two of the very old steam boiler heaters explode in two different "B wing" classrooms spreading hot steam over the entire room. Fortunately, there were not students or teachers present.

Finally, during a recent parent digital evening in the auditorium there was an electrical fire. I wonder where the next one will be and where our students will be when it happens.

Our students and teachers deserve a clean and safe environment for learning. Many in this community owe their livelihood to the education they received at Madison High School, and this high school deserves your support.

Some of you may not like the architectural plans, some of you may not like the past decisions made by our school board or present administration, but you need to set that aside and answer only this question: "What is best for our students?"

We have an obligation as a community to secure the future of our children and the future of Madison. Remember, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." Vote yes for the referendum and invest in our future.

Lynda O'Neal