I wholeheartedly support the upcoming bond referendum for White Bear Lake Area Schools. Voting “yes” is a wise investment. Students are our future.
Key reasons to vote “yes”:
1. Student safety, expanded learning opportunities
• All students deserve a safe, secure and healthy learning environment. Proposed projects accomplish this.
• Student enrollment is growing. The district must plan ahead. Building additions and renovations address projected enrollment growth.
• Flexibly-designed learning spaces support student-centered instruction at all levels.
• A single, unified 9-12 high school experience provides increased opportunities for students. Access to more robust course options will happen. The school will continue to offer career pathways and college credit course offerings. Student learning structures supporting personalized and flexible learning will be added.
• Bottom line: student opportunities improve. Great opportunity!
2. Citizens did their homework: they studied and unanimously approved the comprehensive plan
• The facilities planning committee (90 persons including parents, staff and community plus student input)discussed many options. The group carefully chose a solution that uses the district’s existing facilities in order to keep the costs down.
• They created a comprehensive plan. It covers the entire district. Each building and student will benefit.
• It’s more cost-effective now to implement a long range plan; piecemeal or alternative proposals were reviewed, but lacked broad-based support.
• Many opportunities for community input. The school board, your elected representatives, unanimously agreed on the plan.
3. Investing in schools benefits the community
• The top reason why people move to an area: quality of schools. Investments in schools deliver community-wide benefits to property values, businesses and community programs.
• With passage of the referendum, the district would continue to serve the community with an expanded Senior Center, improved community services and recreation program, and increased community access to better facilities.
• The tax impact for the average homeowner is $23 per month. Various property tax relief measures exist for those below a certain household income. For information about tax refunds, isd624.org/Bond2019.
4. Consequences if not passed: overcrowding, safety compromised, classroom opportunities not optimal
• If the bond doesn’t pass, the buildings will not have sufficient space for the additional 2,000 students that will soon be coming. This would lead to overcrowded schools, higher class sizes, and insufficient space for educational and community programs. Be prepared!
• Critical safety, security and maintenance needs would not be addressed. The current split-campus high school experience would continue, with 9th and 10th graders attending one building and 11th and 12th graders attending a building five miles away.
• Learning spaces would not receive updates to support student-centered instruction.
It’s an honor to represent our area. While I can’t vote on this issue (I live in neighboring district), I do have family attending White Bear Lake area schools. They have plenty of Bear pride and care deeply about the future.
Special thanks to the many dedicated volunteers who are working on this very important vote. Contact the advocacy group, co-chaired by Jill Engwer, Britt Fouks and Jarrod Leder, at email@example.com. They are happy to answer questions or share information.
You may also explore isd624.org, contact any school board member, or call the superintendent ‘s office, 651-407-7563.
It’s up to you. Benjamin Franklin advised, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Please vote yes. Students are our future.
Chuck Wiger, State Senator, District 43.