Created on Saturday, 03 August 2013 Written by Jim Naderer West Liberty
On Tuesday, voters in the West Liberty-Salem district face an important decision. As a member of the WL-S district, I was curious why we needed a levy, so I attended several of the meetings to understand the challenges facing our district. One thing I learned is school funding is complex. The reason for the August election is to lock in state funds at 71 percent. For every $29 from the taxpayers, the state will match $71. In September, WL-S loses this rate. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be.
I also was able to see some of the needs first hand. One of the meetings was during a heavy rain. A computer lab had plastic over the computers to keep the rainwater off due to roof leaks. In another room, ceiling tiles had water damage. One of the modular classrooms had wastebaskets set up to catch the dripping water. The water treatment system needs upgrades and the heating system is obsolete.
Money from the levy will be funding projects that cannot be delayed much longer. Key items include: replacing the roof, eliminating the modular classrooms, updating the HVAC system, updating the functionality of the building, enhancing the safety of the building and grounds and updating classrooms to existing state standards. These are not luxury items, but basic necessities.
I have had the opportunity to support one of WL-S’s academic teams over the last 10 years. This experience has allowed me to visit a variety of schools throughout the state. One thing that seems to set WL-S apart from the rest is how well the facility is maintained. At WL-S, I do not see damaged drywall, missing floor tiles or graffiti. The facility is neat, clean and in good working order. At WL-S, the maintenance staff does an excellent job caring for the facility. However, we have reached the point where some things are just worn out and need replaced.
This is how WL-S has delivered to our community. It has been rated excellent for the last seven years. It ranks in the top 14 percent in the state for advanced and accelerated students. This reflects the effort and dedication of the teachers and administration. The school is doing its part in educating and preparing our young people. WL-S instills pride and adds value in our community. WL-S is one of the reasons my family and I chose to move here 13 years ago.
Two of our children graduated from WL-S and we have another that is a senior. Though I will soon no longer have children in the school, I believe I have a responsibility to continue the upkeep of the school for future students. The students that graduate tomorrow will someday be filling our shoes. The best way to prepare them for those challenges is to provide them the facilities, teachers, administrators and community support necessary to obtain a good education.
Please support the levy on Aug. 6.