There has been much speculation about the Elkhart bond issue. As a parent and former board member, I also had reservations about calling for the bond. After all, my child will be out of school before the new one is built. How will a new school help us?
There are several things to keep in mind when you ask yourself that same question. Even if your child will not get the benefit of the new high school, what about your grandchildren? And to go even further, what about children of your friends and neighbors?
Many people would prefer that Elkhart remain the small country school that it has been. Elkhart has provided our children with an excellent education with the resources we have available. But in reality, we are growing and there is no way to stop people from bringing their children to be educated in a safe environment.
We are not a large district that can provide all the bells and whistles of districts with unlimited resources. So we have moved along, turning classrooms into make-shift science labs, closets and storage rooms into classrooms, and staggered our lunch periods to herd our kids through the lunch line. Several teachers push carts with their teaching supplies to shared classrooms. We have bought portable buildings and used every spot available just to provide basic housing for classes.
So let’s be real about what the future holds for the children of Elkhart ISD.
We desperately need to focus on technology. With buildings older than I, they aren’t wired to handle computer labs. Federal law has mandated students take four years of math and science. Our science labs are not compliant.
In order to provide the required science classes, we will have to build science labs at a cost of over $1 million. Then there’s the home economics lab, which is not compliant either. Math; well we don’t have classrooms for that either. And then there’s another issue that I strongly support, which are vocational classes. Spending this amount of money on an aging building makes little sense.
Students will eventually become adults and our community will continue to grow. Without expanded curriculum and new facilities, it will be impossible to provide our children with the educational opportunities they need to be successful. I hope we can say that we helped them become productive citizens. After all, it is they who will be making decisions one day which will impact all of us.
Please vote YES Saturday for the bond, “4 Elkhart 4 Kids”