Letter: Study all the facts before voting

Published 8:30 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

The proposed Glenville-Emmons school bond referendum to build a new elementary and secondary school in Glenville at a cost of $37,420,000 plus estimated interest of $30.5 million is causing some controversy within the district. Glenville has hired a consulting firm to help get this referendum passed, and probably has the district facilities and information available to assist in getting out the “facts” they want the public to see in order to get this approved.

I feel there are some of unanswered questions.

Why didn’t they do more maintenance or repair to roofs and other damage, as they do have long-term facility maintenance funds available but chose not to spend them for some time? They had no answer to that at the community meeting.

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So now they project their cost of repairs to the school to be quite extensive (due to their lack of maintenance over the past several years) and they believe building a new building is a better option.

A committee of concerned taxpayers called Know the Facts has organized in order to get out more realistic and accurate facts and figures to all eligible district voters.

Those who are working to get this referendum passed seem to be suggesting that the town will suffer major business loss if they lose their school. This hasn’t been proven to be the case in other small towns that have lost their schools.

I notice their yard signs appearing in Glenville yards read “Vote Yes GE Referendum. We support our kids.” As a school board member in Emmons for 14 years, we always worked to provide the best education for the children in our district. The opposition to this bond referendum isn’t because people don’t have the best interests of the kids in mind; it’s because taxpayers also need consideration. Inflation has caused many families to be in difficult circumstances just trying to provide for their basic necessities. Many senior citizens on fixed incomes are also finding it difficult to make ends met. Even those renting housing will see their rental costs rise as a result of large property tax increases for their landlords.

I question spending that huge amount on a school building (which is not giving students a better education — only a better facility). With most rural schools seeming to have declining enrollment numbers, including G-E, will G-E even be able to stay open for the next 25 years? The taxpayers of the district are obligated for 25 years to pay this debt, whether the school can remain financially viable or not.

There are only 12 students from the Emmons district who are going to Glenville. All the other families have found a better fit, or better educational opportunities, through open enrolling elsewhere, paying tuition to another district or home schooling, proving that there are good educational options available.

I ask that you carefully study all the facts before voting on this very important referendum, which will considerably increase your taxes for the next 25 years.

Verlys Huntley