Twenty-five year debt will short-change our students and educators of the future

April 11, 2019

Dear Editor:

I have been doing my best to educate myself on the details of the Farwell Area Schools (FAS) Bond Referendum up for vote on May 7.

It saddens me to say this, but I cannot support this bond proposal. In nearly 50 years of voting, I have never voted against a school millage proposal. In fact, I spent many volunteer hours promoting the 2005 FAS bond.
However, I find many flaws in this 2019 proposal. A 25-year debt will short-change our students and educators of the future.

This proposal does not include a long-term plan for facility improvement and maintenance.

Alternative funding methods that are a better value for taxpayers don’t appear to have been seriously considered.

While FAS does have some facility needs that must be addressed in the near future, it appears that the largest portions of the proposed 24.5 million bond will pay for renovations that are not urgent needs.

I am troubled that this bond is being marketed using a theme that our students are unsafe.

Personal observation has shown me that our FAS staff and our community are taking good care of our students and ensuring their safety.
Farwell has many excellent programs, teachers and administrators. Together they create a learning environment our community can be proud of. Programs and educators are what make FAS a school of choice.
A No vote on May 7 does not mean that I do not support FAS. Indeed, a No vote is a vote for an opportunity to consider a new proposal that will support our schools both now and in the future.

Our students, educators and community deserve a long-term plan; a proposal that addresses urgent needs now and includes plans for the future; a proposal that is affordable for our community and leaves room to address needs that arise before the proposed 25 year debt is paid.
I appreciate our FAS Board and the work they have done to get us to this point, but I think the work is not yet done.

I am very afraid of where our community will be 15 and 20 years from now, even 10 years, if the May 7 bond issue passes.

I will vote No on May 7. I sincerely hope that I will have the opportunity to support a new proposal that is developed with community input, includes a long-term plan and incurs a shorter term debt.

Letha Raymond, Lake

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