Letter to the Editor


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To the editor:

The ballot for the April elections contains an issue that has never been popular. This is the issue of higher taxes -- in particular, higher school taxes for taxpayers in the Jackson School District.

I'm hearing a lot of comments like "We don't need more schools" and "Why can't we add a pod to the existing West Lane School as planned?" and "We need to build a new high school, not a new elementary school, so we can move the junior high to the high school building" and "The school taxes are high enough already" and on and on.

Have any of the persons making these comments topped to realize that our town is growing very rapidly? Our city and school system have an excellent reputation. Therefore, young families moving into our area want to live in Jackson and educate their children in the Jackson School District.

With a rapidly growing community, it would be very difficult to predict the needs of a school district with any kind of accuracy. Sorry, but school board members are not provided with crystal balls nor large paychecks.

Yes, we were supposed to add a pod to West Lane School, but the district grew so rapidly that adding a pod or two was not a sensible solution. The building of a middle school became the wisest alternative. Our district grew so fast in the past couple of years that we were almost full to capacity before we even moved into the new South Elementary.

Our city is stretching out in all directions, but particularly to the east. The concept of neighborhood schools is new to the Jackson district, but it is not a new idea for districts that have already experienced growth problems. Neighborhood elementary schools make for shorter bus rides for students.

For those of you who feel we need to move the junior high school into the existing high school facilities, I ask you "Why?" We have plenty of land on which to build additional classrooms at the existing site. It has been proven that it is usually best to keep students in the junior high age group in a confined situation. It is much easier to maintain a closed campus at the West Lane location. A closed campus would be a must for this age group. Besides, the district has been diligent in the acquisition of adjoining property in the area of the high school, knows that eventually we would have to make more changes in that area. There is ample room at the existing site to add more classrooms and facilities as needed.

I realize that to vote yes on the school bond issue in April will be saying yes to a tax increase. But did you realize that a taxpayer who pays $500 in taxes would be contributing less than 12 cents per student per year? We have about 4,200 students in our district and growing. If you pay $1,000 in taxes, your support is about 24 cent per student. This investment seems very small in comparison to the dividends it will pay.

I know that some of you are thinking, "I'm on a fixed income." Everyone is on a fixed income. I don't know of anyone with an unlimited income. A price increase doesn't seem to prevent us from taking trips or buying new homes or new cars. A tax increase is a small price to pay to ensure that our school system will be able to provide our children with a quality education. Our children are out future.

I urge you to support our children and our school system. Vote yes.