Dear John: What about the bond vote?Published 9:10pm Thursday, July 12, 2012
Not much information positive or negative about the school bond vote.
Can you enlighten us?
— Mark Bulmon
As I wrote in March, the $19.9 million school bond millage proposal for 2.35 mills on the Aug. 7 primary ballot is about change — not if, but how.
The stakes could not be higher with this moment in time to reinvent our public schools before the state caps bonded indebtedness.
The cost is $47 per year for a home with a $20,000 taxable value, $94 for a home with a $40,000 taxable value.
I’ve seen first-hand what Edwardsburg, Cassopolis and Decatur have accomplished.
Our school system invested a year in the Disney vision of Dream, Believe, Dare, Do, customer service principles and storyboarding to gain the broadest input I’ve seen this district bring to an issue.
The goal was to identify best practices to remake the district for technological times which demand problem solving and critical thinking and thrust graduates into a global job market.
Things like the learning lab smart classroom at Union High teach teams to tackle collaborative projects designed to engage minds by incorporating real-life applications.
I don’t envy Dowagiac Board of Education’s challenge to position the district to flourish at a time many scramble to survive.
Remember, all this work was to culminate with a May bond election to fund a 73,500-square-foot addition to the 2005 middle school, consolidate lower grades into a central location at the high school and perhaps close some elementary buildings. That didn’t happen.
The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary Thursday. DUHS is 50, too.
While the rock band’s sound is timeless, we no longer listen to their music on vinyl discs spinning on record player turntables. Failure of the DUHS boiler could be A Bigger Bang to the budget than the Stones’ last album.
Energy efficiency and fewer maintenance costs can save limited tax dollars.
The districtwide technology upgrade includes $1 million for the new 6-12 middle/high school, $1 million for four elementaries and wireless access to the internet.
I spent a summery Saturday morning St. Patrick’s Day at DUHS poring over options, from one with a $45 million price tag to doing nothing, which left the district broke in June 2015 — three months before we could be occupying a new high school by taking advantage of big-ticket items already there such as the Performing Arts Center, gymnasium and cafeteria.
The middle school would be more accessible by connecting Riverside Drive to Mathews Street. Opportunities for students to take classes at nearby Southwestern Michigan College would be enhanced.
How this plays out will have a great deal to say not only about the education of Dowagiac’s young people, but will also define the shrinking community’s ability to compete for students.
For more data see the June 1 State of the Dowagiac Union Schools newsletter mailed to residents.
Tags: Dear John