From : Kevin Rafferty
“Give us $145,000,000, we will build it, and students will come.” Clearly I’m vamping on lines from the movie “Field of Dreams.” There is one critical difference between what the present School Board is asking for and what happens in the movie. That critical difference is that no one was displaced by building a baseball field in a cornfield. Here in Winona, several families and at least one business will be asked to sell their properties and move out.
The School Board is asking you to bet your money on the proposition that building a new school will save money in the long run. Will it? After spending an initial $82,000,000 we will save $1,000,000 a year. The total bill, after interest, will be $145,000,000. It will then take 145 years to realize a return on our investment.
Oh, and by the way, won’t the new buildings require maintenance? What will future school boards do, defer maintenance to save money?
You may ask, “What does any of this do to improve education?” Will nicely air conditioned rooms festooned with computers equal better delivery of education? And you may ask, “Why is attendance at Cotter and charter schools increasing?” With constant uncertainty of school closures, people will continue to send their children to other schools. This is not speculation — it is fact.
It seems like the School Board has wasted everyone’s time with a Rube Goldberg solution to a problem that is more easily solved. Keep the schools we have, perform the maintenance needed, and work on improving delivery of education to attract more students. I’d be happy to open up my wallet for that.
Vote “no” for the school referendum. Let your vote tell the School Board you really support our children’s education.