Why it makes good sense — and dollars — to vote for the school bond

FILLERS

BY JOHN CULLEN

I took advantage of early voting Wednesday at the courthouse to cast my vote in favor of the school bond issue for the Storm Lake Elementary School expansion. I encourage our readers to support the bond issue as well.

We all know the necessity for more classrooms, even the naysayers. Kids are hanging from the rafters in our growing community, with more than 1,000 little kids in a building designed for 750.

Asking people to pay more taxes isn’t a popular idea — never has been — but it’s especially true nowadays as people expect to receive essential services like roads and schools without having to pay for them. There is an incessant drumbeat to cut taxes without concern for the ramifications.

Storm Lake’s school problem is a good one to have. It shows we’re a growing community, a rarity in western Iowa where most communities are watching their schools and their towns dry up and blow away.

Because Storm Lake is growing, as evidenced in our school enrollment, our homes — our biggest investments — are worth more here. If you want cheap real estate, go to a town with a shrinking school enrollment. You’ll find plenty of cheap real estate. And no market when it comes time to sell your home.

Mary and I don’t need the school. Our kids are grown. But we see it as essential to our community’s future and as our obligation to “Pay it forward” to help future generations of Storm Lakers, just as our parents and grandparents did for us decades ago.

We were unable to take advantage of our excellent Storm Lake public education because we chose to send our kids to St. Mary’s for religious regions. But we still recognized our obligation to the whole community. It was our choice to support two schools, one with tuition and the other with tax dollars. Having two schools in Storm Lake enhances our community in innumerable ways. We must keep both of them strong. A rising tide lifts all boats. As the public school grows, so does St. Mary’s. Witness the Catholic school’s nice enrollment bump this fall. Plus we have Buena Vista University to really make Storm Lake unique. The Storm Lake Times has been a proud Beaver supporter since we started publication in 1990.

A good school in a growing community will increase the value of your house way more than the $80 increase in your property taxes. That $80 will seem dirt cheap if we didn’t have a growing school in a growing community. Your $100,000 home in Storm Lake would lose half its value in a shrinking town.

That’s why it makes good economic sense to vote “Yes!” for the school bond. If you don’t want to do it for the little kids, do it for yourself. Your house is worth a lot more with a growing school.

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