From: Dick Smith
Regarding the upcoming school referendum, this is a plea for the citizens of District 861 to stand up and shoot that proposal down with a resounding “no” vote! The board and the new superintendent are rushing this thing way too fast. It is scary that we are having a special, and very expensive election for this referendum. They are throwing around our tax dollars like we have a money tree. It is estimated that the election will cost approximately $100,000 more than it would if it were held in the 2018 regular election. They also want to literally throw away over $700,000 by overriding the proper bid process and accepting the higher bid because they have had a good experience with this firm in the past. Why even bother taking bids if the whole thing is “cut and dried” to start with? Very unethical, don’t you think? Makes you kind of distrustful, especially with the district’s recent experience with hiring superintendents.
One thing that really bothers me is the logic of closing Jefferson and expanding W-K. It just doesn’t make any sense to buy up a whole lot of expensive property to expand a school with the “Indy 500” (Mankato Avenue) running right by it. Jefferson has acres of land for expansion and is located in a very quiet neighborhood. Jefferson also is a much more modern and attractive facility. The proponents of the referendum are also trying to justify a new gym for the ALC by claiming that the Jefferson gym is being used full-time by the resident students. I find that hard to believe because when I attended Jefferson, there were nine grades — plus a kindergarten — and there was no problem with providing all the kids with ample recreational gym time. Presently, the school has only about half the grades my school term had, and yet they claim the gym is too busy to accommodate the kids from the ALC. Unbelievable! Busing to those distant locations is an unnecessary and expensive proposition. Closing that elegant building is a stupid idea. Makes you wonder what other ridiculous things are going on in the district. The whole referendum should be scrapped and sent back to the drawing board. The new superintendent, who is really working overtime to push it through, admits that it is not a perfect plan. So if it is not perfect, why should we settle for a flawed, mediocre, exorbitant plan like the one they’re touting? Think about it! And you Rollingstone people, remember, passing the resolution does not guarantee survival of your school. And residents in the Jefferson area, do you want the school turned into apartments, or possibly WSU student housing? I don’t think so! Please get out and vote “no” on November 7, so we don’t end up with a potential long-term nightmare. The kids and the district deserve better.