Grinnell: Reasons to Vote No

On September 11th, voters in Grinnell will decide whether to approve a tax bond measure to update the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District‘s middle and high schools and to build a brand new elementary campus so that all of Grinnell’s youngest students can go to school together in a safe, modern building. This might all sound like a reasonable investment in the future- I mean, what kind of focus-on-the-family red-blooded American would not want to ensure that “We’re #1!”?

Yet, this school bond referendum has failed in the past. … And I think I’ve seen the light. Here are my eight reasons to vote NO on the Grinnell School Bond Referendum.

  1. The proposed elementary campus is on the site of an empty field (with a view of rolling hills, where deer gather to gaze) near a nature trail and healthcare facilities. It would be an entirely new building site with secure entrances and safe pick up and drop off locations and change is scary.

2. While we know and are used to poor air quality and environmental contaminants in our old schools, like lead and asbestos, we have no idea what the air or soil quality will be like at the new school. I mean, we do actually know because they have been repeatedly tested to be safe, but we can’t test the future site because it isn’t there yet. Do we really want to take that chance? After all, for tax-fearing voters like us, environmental protection and regulation is a major concern.

3. We’ve grown so accustomed to the idea that one of our elementary schools will just fall down or be the scene of a mass shooting that we feel it’s safer to have our town’s children scattered across multiple dilapidated buildings without storm shelters, secure entrances, or safe pick up and drop off zones. Same goes for our antiquated sanitation systems, having the future generations spread out helps to prevent pandemics in our town– we just wouldn’t be able to cope with the idea of modern touchless faucets and toilets preventing the spread of disease– especially so close to a healthcare facility should the worse happen.

4. Our town already has so many areas that drug abusers and sexual offenders are prohibited from, why add another? Especially one in which our youngest and most vulnerable students would be so well protected in their own elementary campus.

5. Frankly, this bond measure is too small because it doesn’t include additional taxes for road and sewer work which has already been funded. Besides, we support remodeling our old schools, just like the boutique hotel, Hotel Grinnell. After nine years and over seven million dollars, it will only cost us around $150 per day, per child! With marble sinks and open shelving, all of our modern industrial open concept schools will get high ratings on Tripadvisor for sure.

6. At the same time as this bond referendum being too meager, we also argue that it is too costly. We are already throwing millions away maintaining our current schools crumbling infrastructure– hell the boiler in the one is patched up with enough hundred dollars bills to pay two full-time teachers each year. But why would we want to invest in a new school that will save us money and improve our kids’ education in the long run? Our children are our future and it’s their problem.

7. Decreased enrollment! Need I say more? By keeping our tradition of aged schools more and more parents will be encouraged to pull their children out of our district and have them bused to Lynnville-Sully! We fully support busing children, even if it means they will get fat and be bullied, so long as we don’t get slammed with higher property taxes. In fact, I say we extend this attitude towards our entire city– lower taxes and let everything fall apart. Scare away potential business investments with our broken streets and derelict schools, we will keep standards of living low, and that will be reflected in our taxes. If we voted yes, it would be an average $230 a year, which is $.64 cents A DAY! Almost as much as it would cost to print a bunch of flyers that clearly demonstrate the sorry state local education is in.

8. If taxes are raised even a tiny bit for homeowners, rent will be HIKED! No one will be able to afford to live in rentals, and we’re not just saying that to manipulate renters into voting in favor of the wealthy and selfish property owners. It just makes sense to punish innocent children rather than stand up to a cash-grabbing landlord, eh? Picking on someone your own size is a losing game– and if we keep our schools as is, our children will never be the wiser.

vote no flyerIf you have gotten this far and not realized it, this is satire. Grinnell’s schools are crumbling (and have been since a grandmother of an 18yo went to school there). And the population of the town opposed to the tax are the same folks outraged (outraged, I tells ya!) that there isn’t an strong opposition to funding education on the local college campus. The Vote No folks have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to advertise against the School Bond Referendum, including fliers like this one posted in local businesses.

There is a lot of misinformation in the fliers, notably the “industrial site” of the proposed elementary campus– on a recent visit to Grinnell, I was shown the proposed site. It was lovely. There were deer grazing as the sunset. Here’s the video. If you want actual information, stop by Drake Library 12-1pm for an informational seminar on the project as a whole or check out the presentation slides.

How many Vote No! folks realize that they are helping to widen the gap between rich and poor by voting in favor of the wealthy land and business owners who do not want to support the local community. What does it matter to them that Grinnell’s schools are getting lower rankings statewide when they can send their kids to private schools? Or to ship their kids to Lynnville-Sully? Frankly, Vote No! folks should be embarrassed at the state of their local schools’ antiquated facilities as though we live in a developing economy. Where is their sense of civic pride? If you want to make a place great again, the local schools are the place to start.

Grinnell has the ability to become a world-class center of education, attracting more families and businesses to the area, providing more jobs and improving the standard of living for everyone. But first, we must vote yes to investing in the future.

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