They're sincere, but vote 'no'
Friday, April 18, 2014 11:00 AM
To the editor:
I have met Dr. Bollinger and Mr. Frazier, toured E.O. Muncie and the high school and am very pleased that they are sincerely interested in improving our buildings and educating our children.
We all agree that our children should stay in school, graduate, do well on state and federal exams, be well prepared for their adult life and enjoy life.
I thank Dr. Bollinger and Mr. Frazier for providing the public considerable information on our schools.
The janitors have done an excellent job keeping our schools clean. The schools' air quality seemed very pleasant. The high school industrial arts and science labs were not included in the tour. The classrooms in both schools are large and both schools are structurally sound. Tunnels allow access to plumbing and heating pipes.
MCS needs to hire additional local full-time experienced maintenance workers to keep our buildings repaired and modified. These workers could not only keep our buildings in good condition, but also greatly reduce contracting out.
The proposed renovations and additions will not prepare our children to pass state tests, improve college entrance scores or prepare our children for jobs.
The building proposals are not necessary. MCS has adequate facilities and new buildings will not educate our children any better than the present buildings.
Our school has a priority problem not a funding problem. However, the proposed referendum will create a funding problem and will not solve the priority problem. Consider Madison Township's tax rate which presently is 1.6531 and the school accounts for 0.8534 of that rate. The proposed referendum will add an additional 0.4028 to the school portion making it 1.2562. The $2 million borrowed for the Junior High School pool renovation and borrowing about $2 million each year to cover the proposed seven-year renovations could raise the school tax rate to as high as 1.450.
The consultants have delayed the shock to a few years down the road to avoid public outcry. If the school board does not get its priorities straightened out the school tax rate could be even higher for the consultants only propose setting aside about $1.3 million of the over $3.5 million capital projects fund for renovation of all the remaining schools.
Low priority projects seem to be the order of the day. This means the Madison Township tax rate could rise to about 2.250 in the near future due to the referendum. A mini-farm consisting of a 30-year-old house, 50-year- old outbuildings and a few acres could easily see taxes raise from $2,000 to $2,800 in the next few years.
Property taxes are not paid by a large percentage of county residents and industries that pay poverty wages do not pay their fair share. This puts a tremendous burden on the workers and the aged.
Further emphasis on fine arts, raising the gymnasium ceiling and moving E. O. Muncie students to the closed Anderson School are low priority projects. Very few, if any students are going to earn their living in fine arts and sports. The existing facilities are in good shape and are adequate.
We need to reduce MCS debt to zero not put our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren further into debt.
The teachers need help from the administrative staff, the school board, the parents, the citizens, the local government, the state government and the federal government to effectively educate our children.
In this day and age we are shifting more and more to rely on computers to provide information to the student which in itself is good. However, we must not let ourselves be misled into thinking that all we have to do is to make computers available and our students can educate themselves. Our students must know how to add and subtract; not just push a button and come up with the answer.
Class sizes need to be reduced to the optimum of about 10 students per class for the best transfer of information. It is impossible for teachers to help each individual student when a class is too large. Small classes also allow the student to open up, ask questions and share concepts with each other.