2018-05-24 / Opinions

Guest VIEWpoint

More than brick and mortar
Submitted by Brian Keim,
Laker Schools Superintendent

Brian Keim Brian Keim The past year has been a busy time for local school districts, especially for those who placed millage proposals on the recent ballot. With the elections now behind us, we have a moment to catch our breath and contemplate what our results really mean.

Here are a few things that come to mind:

• We have a special community that supports our students and schools. Many bond elections failed across the state, but all of those in the northern Thumb passed. This says a lot about the local commitment to children and the value that is placed on a good education.

• This support goes beyond parents, grandparents and even district residents. Statistically speaking, only 21 percent of parents vote in an average school election, so that means there are many voters without children who see the benefits of strong schools. I received a kind note from a resident of a neighboring district who pays tax on land in our district, stating that he was honored that his tax dollars would be used to support our students. Judging by the election results from around the area, he was not alone in his thinking.

• Safety matters. Several local bonds included provisions for extensive upgrades to school entries, hardware and surveillance equipment. It’s unfortunate that we must use our resources for those purposes, but we’re very fortunate to have school boards and voters who understand the current reality and are willing to do everything possible to make our schools more secure.

• Schools are about more than brick and mortar. Most local bonds included funding for roofs, pipes and asphalt, but also went beyond these basic needs to improve the educational opportunities that students will experience within their school walls. Buildings and parking lots can’t teach, but teachers with better facilities, equipment and technology can do much more for their students than those without.

• People are watching. In the wake of our successful election, I’ve received messages, letters and calls from people all over the state and beyond. They have taken note of what just happened and the way our communities have stood up in support of our schools. With this comes heightened expectations and positive thinking that will continue to elevate students and districts everywhere. If a rising tide lifts all boats, our local election results may very well impact children far beyond the northern Thumb and that’s something we can all be proud of.

In closing, I would like to thank our Laker residents and others for their support of students and schools around the Thumb. Education is key to a successful future, and our future is looking bright!

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