Last summer when I was thinking about my position on the school bond election, this was my thought process.
I have three daughters in Ferndale schools. If this bond passes, they will definitely benefit. Their school playground will be resurfaced. The high school auditorium they perform in occasionally will be updated and more comfortable. The middle and high school they will eventually attend will have better mechanical systems, no asbestos and more efficient lighting. Technology they use will be updated.
But how much will it really affect my three girls if this bond doesn’t pass? So what if they have to sweat a little during class, so what if the bathrooms are still a little grungy, so what if the pool could at any time spring a leak? They’ll still be learning; our kids and teachers can just buck up, right?
What decided it for me was when I thought it through. The asbestos stays in the ceiling; every time a light fixture needs to be replaced it costs a bunch more to replace because of the risk of releasing that asbestos. That money comes from the school district’s general budget. An old boiler blows , and the repair costs come from the general budget. That pool does spring a leak, and the cleanup and repair money comes from the general budget. Every time we dip into that general budget, that’s less money spent on teacher salaries, curriculum, tutoring. And that does affect my daughters’ education.
The rules allow the district to ask voters for money dedicated to building infrastructure; the rules do not allow the district to ask the voters for money to pay teachers or buy books. That money has to come from the operating budget, and that pot is dwindling. We can’t depend on Lansing; our community has to do this.
My yes vote, of course, doesn’t come for free. My family will continue to pay a little every year. By voting yes, we are making the decision to go a little bit without in our family budget for the sake of the greater good, as voters before us have done. I have confidence in the current and future leadership of our district, and I am voting yes to give them, our children and our schools the support they need from our community.
Ferndale Schools parent