Archive for Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Shouts and Murmurs: Election’s over, time to move on

November 10, 2004

Now with last week's school bond election under our belt, it's time to move forward.

Voters gave a strong go-ahead for the project, with almost 60 percent of district voters casting their ballots in favor of the $25.3 million plan.

Of course that means close to 40 percent of the voters were against the project.

But in a school district that historically has had a difficult time getting bond elections passed, the 60 percent is an overwhelming success story for the school district.

As Tonganoxie school Superintendent Richard Erickson said during a political forum at Tonganoxie VFW just before the election, whatever the result would be, he would be positive-minded.

He didn't want the election to divide the community.

And now, with the bond issue passed, the plans for construction are beginning.

This is the time for school faculty, staff and other community-minded citizens to be thinking about the needs of the schools.

Architects have not yet designed the new middle school. It's still possible to have some input in the final plans.

On Nov. 22, the architects, construction managers will attend a special board meeting. Plans will be laid that will lead the way to construction.

It's just a start. But after the results of the bond election, at least now those involved know their plans will come to fruition.

Erickson is hoping that the new middle school could be open by the fall semester of 2007. That would be if everything went together as smoothly as possible.

Last Wednesday, the day after the election, I had the opportunity to visit Lansing High School.

The school is an impressive building -- with a large well-lit entryway. I'd always been pretty much satisfied with Tonganoxie High School, my alma mater. But suddenly, upon seeing Lansing's attractive high school I realized how much better ours can look.

And of course part of the school district's plan is to provide a large entryway at the high school -- an area large enough for receptions, as well as for the inevitable crowds basketball games bring to the school. I'm hoping the end result will be comparable to Lansing High School's -- something we can be proud of, something that says we care.

Just before the election, an 89-year-old lady, who yes lives on a fixed income, said she planned to vote for the school's bond election.

"Tonganoxie needs to be a first-class city," she said, adding. "Not that it isn't, but we need to keep working at it to keep it that way."

I think she had a point.

Now, as she indicated, is the time for the community to work together, to look forward to and to support the school through the construction process.

From all appearances, the school's plan is one that will educate Tonganoxie school children for generations to come.

And whether it's your children or mine doesn't make a difference. After all, somebody paid for schools for our generation. Now it's time to take care of the next.

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