Vote yes Dec. 11

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

We recognize that both the Storm Lake Middle School and Storm Lake Elementary Schools are crowded with 100-150 more students than they were designed for. The middle school is utilizing two portable classrooms. All the shared spaces in both buildings that were designed to accommodate multiple class activities has been taken for additional class rooms.  In addition, the orchestra students in the fourth grade move to the middle school for their class since the room designed for the orchestra has been converted to a regular classroom.

We are thankful that the Storm Lake Community School District is growing in student count — it is a testament to our programs that each year we enjoy net open enrollment gains. In addition, the families that live in Storm Lake are growing and filling our schools. Our school district is not shrinking like most districts around — we are not laying off teachers and that is keeping our employment base stable and strong. We have a unique problem of providing classroom space for a growing school population – a good problem but a problem nonetheless. We think the idea to build an Early Childhood Center is an excellent approach to relieve this crowding by ultimately shifting kindergarten and first grade to the new building and moving fifth grade to the elementary. This will relieve the overcrowding at both the middle school and the elementary school. This year we have over 1,800 students in those age/grade levels that will directly and positively benefit from this project.

Educational studies continue to confirm the importance of providing pre-school education to four-year-old children. In so many of our young families, both parents are working or otherwise not able to spend time providing an educationally rich home environment and so it is of increasing importance that the school district provide a pre-school to help these children be ready to succeed in school. My brother was fond of saying... “If you think education is expensive, think about ignorance”. I understand that prison planners look at third grade reading scores to estimate future prison needs. We must do whatever we can to prepare these children to succeed in life. Our state tax dollars support pre-school — we need to offer it to as many kids as possible.

We understand that one of the first questions people consider when contemplating a move is schools. If we want Storm Lake to continue to attract employees and employers, we must maintain our reputation for great educational opportunities — good school buildings are a part of that. Good schools help support strong residential property values.

We trust the school board members and are confidant they have thoughtfully developed this proposal and will spend our tax dollars wisely.

Our generation and the two adjacent generations of our family have graduated 16 family members from Storm Lake High School. The schools they attended were built and paid for by previous Storm Lakers — we appreciate that and we are proud to help provide the facilities for future generations of Storm Lakers. The proposed new Early Childhood Center will facilitate current best practices for this age children and relieve over-crowding for over 1,800 children. Vote YES for the students. Go to the auditor’s office to vote YES now, get an absentee ballot to vote YES, vote YES at the elementary on Dec. 4 or, vote YES on Dec. 11. Tell your friends to vote YES as well. Remember, we need to vote YES on both questions on the ballot.

RICK AND CAROL PETERSON

Storm Lake