Two ‘yes’ votes about paying it forward

Published 8:05 am Thursday, April 23, 2015

Niles citizens cannot allow a handful of individuals with bitterness toward the past — and maybe apathy with government-funded entities in general — to mortgage our children’s future.

That is essentially what will happen if concerned citizens do not come together as a unified front to support the Niles Community Schools bond levy in the May 5 election.

Anyone who has visited the schools can clearly see that most are in dire need of updates. This isn’t about poor maintenance at all. With the buildings having an average age of about 60 years old, they are in remarkably good shape. But it is time for significant improvements to the infrastructure, security and learning environment.

Those who like to argue that buildings do not teach children are missing the big picture because the resources we use to educate them certainly do make a difference.

It would be like deciding to build a house with only a toolset from 200 years ago or deciding to travel only by stagecoach. Can it be done? Sure. Is it the most efficient approach that will generate the best possible results? Absolutely not.

Readers will see in Friday’s newspaper that the five members of the editorial board are in agreement that two “yes” votes are the right investment for the children of Niles.

I certainly have a personal interest in this as well, as both my daughters attend the Niles schools. I’ve seen firsthand many of the areas where improvements to the physical buildings are needed.

When compared to neighboring communities, the Niles district is dead last when compared to tax dollars invested in the educational environment the students spend so much time in.

Our children deserve better.

Don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself. Learn about what your dollars will go toward. I won’t go into all the details here but the Niles Daily Star has outlined these in recent editions.

Our nation’s forefathers made the commitment and investment in publicly funded schools — this holds true regardless of where you attended — and now it is our turn to pay it forward by voting yes on both local initiatives.

As a Niles resident and taxpayer I certainly do not take an endorsement like this lightly as it will impact my family’s finances as well as those of many individuals on fixed incomes.

In the end, for most people, the impact will be about the cost of a pizza once a month. I am willing to sacrifice that luxury for the necessities of my children and all Niles students.

I hope you are too.


Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at