On Nov. 7, Douglas County voters sent a strong message about the school district leadership: We want board members who will work to restore trust, transparency and accountability in our school district, and that is why we turned out in record numbers to reelect Susan Meek and elect Brad Geiger and Valerie Thompson to the board of education.
Our children have graduated from Douglas County schools, but my husband and I are still community members and taxpayers who care about this school district. We want all students and teachers to have a safe and welcoming environment in their schools. We were very happy to see the mill levy override (ballot measure 5A) pass, showing the strong support for our professional educators. At the same time, we were very disappointed to see the bond measure (5B) fail, even though it would have replaced an expiring bond, resulting in no increase in taxes. Our community assets, including almost 90 school buildings, in addition to stadiums, fields and grounds, are just like our homes in that they require regular maintenance and repairs. As the county continues to be developed, with new homes built in areas not currently served by neighborhood schools, there is a strong need for new schools to be built, but now there is no money to fund repairs or new buildings.
As many community members know, there is a shortage of school bus drivers, resulting in the cancellation of bus routes and requiring more students to find their own way to school, whether by walking or biking or being driven several miles twice a day, leaving parents to figure out car pools and alter their own work schedules. With the increased development in the county, this is not sustainable. Without a new bond, cuts to student resources will have to be made, especially if there is a catastrophic event at a school requiring immediate repairs, such as a furnace or boiler failure, in order to keep school in session. When the capital needs are urgent, the money has to be taken from the general fund. I am hopeful that the district administrators will start educating the community immediately about the needs of the district so a bond measure can pass next year. It’s the responsible thing to do.