GUEST OPINION. Vote yes

Join me in voting yes on March 7 for the Benton Community General Obligations Bond.

I have been involved in farming and agriculture related business all my life and one thing I know is that we need to make investments in business and education to keep up and remain successful. Six dollars an acre is one bushel of corn per acre and is not a burden to agriculture. It is an investment for our future. With the voucher/school choice passing recently in the Statehouse, we need to have up-to-date facilities to stay competitive and keep our enrollment up and keep the educational dollars within our district. We have not been asked by the district to fund such a significant infrastructure project in over 44 years! It’s time to invest in education and invest in our community’s future. 

Closing school buildings is never an easy transition. No one likes change. Spending tens of millions of dollars to renovate 60-70 year old buildings doesn’t make sense to me. The building I attended in Keystone in 1966 has served us well and it is time to move on. The residents of Blairstown, Elberon, and Newhall have already made the transition to a town without a school. It is our turn now. The statement of ‘without a school, our town will fail’ is inaccurate. These three communities in our district are growing or maintaining and moving on, and so will we. It takes more than an operating school to keep a town running. It’s on us residents to do that. The question should be what are we doing to keep our town alive and thriving?

The committee that did the facility study spent a considerable amount of time and research before coming up with a recommendation to the Board. The School Board did even more research and planning to try to do what is best for us all. You can criticize the outcome, but don’t criticize their effort. The School Board has constantly kept an eye on property taxes and even with a successful bond issue, we will remain on the lower end of property tax asking in our area for comparable schools. Please do some research on your own and get the facts, trying to leave emotion aside, and make an informed decision on March 7. 

Join me and vote yes for our schools. 

Gary Kaiser, Keystone

Lifelong farmer and former school board member

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