|The remnants of Joplin High School. Starting construction at this site ASAP would be the best sign of Hope we could send our community and the world!|
As most of you know, I am passionate about community involvement. National politics being what they are these days, it is difficult for the everyday, regular citizen to have a great impact on the policies that shape our country. The best we can hope for is to align ourselves with a group or organization (or several) that promotes our interests through various media outlets and political action committees (PAC’s). Grass roots movements are also productive, but the simple truth is that any movement needs financial backing in order to have a voice on a national scale.
Thankfully, local government is still accessible to citizens. Even in large urban areas, citizens continue to have a voice with their local council members, mayors, or city aldermen. Congressional members at the state level provide a liaison between their constituents and the state legislature. Also, EVERY VOTE COUNTS during local elections. Remember, though, not to confuse "voting" with "micro-managing".
Today, April 3, 2012, citizens of Joplin have an unprecedented opportunity before them: the opportunity to say “yes” to our continued rebuilding efforts as they pertain to the future of our schools. On the ballots today is a request by the school district to pass a bond issue that will provide the funding needed to rebuild the four Joplin schools that were destroyed by last May’s tornado. Why does the district need additional funding? Because the old high school was too small to house the current student population. Even before the tornado, school officials were forced to look at ways to enlarge the high school in order to help it meet state guidelines pertaining to square footage allowed per student.
Are the new schools going to be nice? You betcha. They will be new, and new is always nice. Why will they be new? Because there are no buildings left to renovate; the tornado took that option away from us. Are the schools going to be extravagant? No, but even if they were, would that be a bad thing? Would it be a bad thing to let our children, the future of our community, go to a beautiful facility to learn? Would it be a bad thing to show the rest of the world what our “can-do” attitude can provide for our future?
Don’t panic, the school district isn’t going overboard. The simple fact is that it costs money to build schools. Construction workers (most of whom will be residents of our community) will want to be paid for their efforts, as will designers and architects and all the other professionals that are required to construct a building meant to last 100 years. And, can we blame them? Don’t we ALL expect to be paid for our work? Isn't this the hallmark of a capitalist society?
Today, as you go to the polls (and I sincerely hope you DO go vote – whether you live in Joplin or elsewhere), remember all the hard work that has gone into our rebuilding efforts thus far. Remember how strong our community is, and how we all pulled together to help each other during one of the most tragic times in our history. And remember that we want to teach our children to have this same commitment to their community and its citizens.
Vote “YES” for Joplin’s future, and for its schools.