To the editor:
Voters will have the opportunity to support public education without leaving their homes by voting “yes” for the upcoming USD 497 bond issue.
Be on the lookout for your mail-in ballot, which will be mailed April 12. Please vote “yes” and get it mailed back to the County Clerk’s office well in advance of the noon May 2 deadline.
The bonds will be used for necessary improvements at our high schools, middle schools, and the College and Career Center, along with funds for technology improvements.
Lawrence High School will rightfully receive the largest portion of the bond proceeds, for construction of new classrooms, larger classrooms and corridors, and student collaboration spaces. Studies have shown that only 29 percent of Lawrence High’s classrooms meet the targeted space-per-student ratios, while 92 percent of Free State’s classrooms meet this criteria.
Free State High School will receive the next largest portion of bond funds, for construction of additional classroom and collaboration space, as well as other improvements. (People tend to forget that it is a 20-year-old facility that now needs some enhancements.)
Our middle schools will all receive upgrades, particularly West, which needs a new HVAC system, as well as other improvements.
The College and Career Center would get a new kitchen for its culinary arts program and other preparations for facilitating the district’s collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club’s future Teen Center.
We have done a wonderful job of creating modern learning environments for our primary schools. We need to stay on track so that we don’t drop the ball at our middle schools and high schools. We owe it to our kids.