To all citizens of Scotland County:
As a proud Scotland County resident, educator, and most importantly, parent of two recent SCR-I graduates, I write in earnest support of Proposition 2, which you will be asked to consider in a few short days.
When I learned of this second appeal to the voters by our Board of Education, the first thoughts that came to mind were: Brilliant! Frugal! Efficient! Needed! Smarter! What this proposition represents is exactly what our community and its most precious resource – our students -deserve. It’s a common sense approach to a number of nagging and significant problems that our students and their mentors have endured for too long, now conceived with remarkably prudent and respectful stewardship of a resource that we do not have in abundance – financial prosperity. But this community is rich in a more important way, and that is its mutual support of things that really matter, and the recognition of just how valuable a quality education is for our kids.
As I thought about the word associations mentioned above, just why became apparent as I unpacked the details. Let me explain, one by one:
Brilliant! The construction design is innovative, creative, and incorporates the unique focal point of our campus that the playground has become. In turn, the architectural design is captivating, and stimulates curiosity. Are the rooms curvy inside? Won’t visitors be attracted to explore, especially if considering a move here for employment, to return home in retirement and be with grandkids, or most importantly, to raise a family in a solid, forward thinking community that dares to challenge the status quo? And what about the students? The greatest learning comes from a classroom full of choices, new ideas, and a stimulating environment. Teachers will tell you that surroundings matter, and inspiring designs launch great beginnings!
So does the variety of improvements Prop 2 would fund. The discipline, maturity and teamwork that derive from athletics will be enhanced. The creativity and exhilaration that comes from being a part of musical expression are truly “weapons of mass instruction”, as Mike Huckabee likes to say. With expansion into more world languages, our grads will be able to compete on a global stage, whether their part is played out here or abroad. Regarding our physical plant, a stable temperature environment ensured by updated heating and cooling systems and protected walkways will remove the distractions from learning that can frustrate our extraordinary teachers’ best efforts. Yes, in these and so many other ways, this plan is……. Brilliant!
Frugal! By taking the bold step of risking failure with a higher bar for approval, the Board has asked us to give a big thumbs up, and endorse a quantum leap while saving some money in return. Compared with the last proposal, the levy increase is a shining quarter less, yet the available funds are not reduced proportionally. That, my friends, is undeniably frugal. There is no fluff, no frills, but rather needed repairs and improvements, along with security and safety enhancements that are nearly universal among top rated schools. That’s great planning, with restraint and respect for our pocketbooks.
Efficient! In updating our HVAC systems and controls, consolidating all programs on one campus, and replacing way-beyond-their-time lighting on our fields, future savings will result. That means as resources becoming increasingly scarce in the future, which nobody disputes, they won’t be wasted on expensive repairs or skyrocketing utility expenses. Rather, our precious dollars will be targeted where they belong, advancing student achievement through new and better programs.
Needed! There is no doubt that the earlier we get kids learning, exploring, and problem solving, the more likely they are to succeed as workers, citizens, parents and change agents for a better world. Which is why an integrated, focused and life skills- and therapy-supported facility for our youngest students is so vitally important. With their existing fun playground as a hub, the proposed facility incorporates the necessary elements to provide the tools and environment that enable students with all sorts of innate gifts and unique needs to reach their maximum potential. That’s true also for our student athletes and musicians. I can’t wait to see the jump in enthusiasm and learning after we get behind Prop 2 and invest in the future next week!
Smarter! Why not just “smart”? No doubt, the Board’s planning, leaning heavily on staff and community input, was smart, but “smarter”? Yes, as a member of the Board for 6 years, I can see now that this is a superior proposal to the one we offered and you rejected a couple years ago. It’s simply smarter, for all the reasons I’ve highlighted. There are others too, but the point is that your Board listened ……and LEARNED. What a beautiful example of how our students learn, by having a goal, attempting to achieve it, then using lessons learned to reengineer the solution so it works. It’s a metaphor for life. Edison tried hundreds of times before a filament lit a bulb. Steve Jobs was fired, then rehired before changing the world with Apple. Every time, at every place in the revamped SCR-1, this process will repeat a thousand times, and our students will SOAR!
I think this is indeed the “Goldilocks Bond Issue”. Not too little, or too much, but just the right scope, at the right price. And now is the right time. Please consider Prop 2 as your personal investment in the kids, their futures, and a school that will enhance community pride and the Scotland County brand immeasurably. I’m voting an unqualified “Yes!”, and I hope you will join me, and encourage all your neighbors to show their support too.
Randy Tobler, MD