LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Vote ‘yes’ to improve Buchanan schools

Published 6:30 pm Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Buchanan Community Schools bond proposal has given me an opportunity to dive into a matter of great importance to our community. As a more recent arrival to Buchanan Township and having worked in the education sector for the last 40 years, I’ve given my vote thoughtful consideration. I am an enthusiastic “YES” in favor of the proposal. I do not directly benefit from the Buchanan Schools, but I believe that good schools are essential to a good community.

Before I get to my conclusions, let me express deep gratitude for the Buchanan Community Schools. First, for teachers and support staff, administrators, and coaches working with students every day; for the Board of Education, the voluntary leaders who work tirelessly to steward the school through the present and into its future; for maintenance and other staff who keep the buildings and buses running. I’m also grateful for the Buchanan community and for the passionate debate about the merits of the bond proposal. Passionate and friendly debate are at the core of democracy. Lastly, I am grateful for the experts who have guided the schools throughout this process, specifying the significant needs, identifying the related costs, and making a thoughtful plan for funding.

I see two categories of arguments in favor of the proposal. The first category is necessity. Recently, during the public open houses, my wife and I toured the two buildings that are the focus of this bond request: Moccasin Elementary and Buchanan High School. We were amazed at the efforts of the administrators, faculty, and staff to make a wonderful educational environment despite shockingly inadequate facilities. The issues are critical. They are NOT WANTS nor WISHES. What we observed were learning and teaching environments with unacceptable electrical and mechanical deficiencies. There are security and life safety needs that need to be addressed immediately. The constantly failing infrastructure is a drain on financial and human resources. The proposed Health and Wellness Center at the High School is for all students, not just athletes, proposed at a time in our culture when addressing mental health needs of students is critical.

The second category in favor of the proposal is economic impact. There will be a modest increase in millage (a net 1.5 increase after an earlier 2 milage obligation expires in the coming year). Given the need, I say that if we do not shoulder the expense now, we will need to bear the burden in the future. Therefore, we cannot afford not to do this. Our children have great teachers, they deserve quality educational facilities. It is commonly understood that there is a national teacher shortage. To remain competitive, Buchanan needs better facilities for reattaining our wonderful teachers and attracting high-quality candidates.

The City of Buchanan and the community served are at an inflection point. There are great challenges, but I believe even greater potential. A positive vote in favor of this proposal will help fuel the hope for the City Buchanan and the townships served.

Buchanan Community Schools have had a century of investment before us – now it’s our turn!

I encourage those who are committed to investing in our town’s future to vote “Yes” on May 2. I ask those who are opposed to this proposal reconsider their position and vote “Yes” as well.

Brian Murphy