We need consolidation and renovation

To the editor:

Please join me in voting no on Issue 11, phase one of the proposed $43 million new school building. Consolidation and renovations are a more affordable alternative, offering many benefits to our community:

• Pride in restoring Langston and keeping it as a cornerstone of our school district. Built in 1923, it is in a central location, has strong architectural stature, “good bones” and can accommodate our PK-5 grade students without an addition.

• Show our children that we are not part of a “throwaway” society, that it is neither environmentally sound or sustainable to build and knock down buildings every 50 years, which is the predicted lifespan of the proposed new building.

• Ability to complete work incrementally, using some of our permanent improvement levy money ($555,000 annually), combined with a more modest levy, so not to overtax the community.

• Allow the district to remain flexible in uncertain times more so than with a big, expensive building. Nationwide birthrates are at a record low (lower than during the Depression), which could cause enrollment to erode further. Technology is rapidly changing the face of education, with predictions that schools will be used as “home bases” rather than where all learning occurs.

• Realize many of the exact same benefits attributed to the proposed new building: reduced personnel costs, elimination of duplicated services (e.g. food service, libraries), lower building maintenance.

Despite information on the school’s levy site that it would cost between $27 million and 39 million to consolidate into two of our schools, we have every reason to believe that it can be done for less than half the cost of the proposed new building. For more information, please visit www.oberlinconcernedcitizens.org.

Debbi Walsh