No stretch-limousine school


To the editor:

Voting no on Issue 11 actually moves the Oberlin school board past this particularly expensive proposal (37-year property tax!) to consider more affordable and more effective options. The board knows that these cheaper options exist, yet feels tempted and rushed by a time-sensitive, rather small coupon discount from the state.

Instead of building a whole new building, we can make key upgrades on our existing buildings, which are all structurally sound.

Oberlin is not about “keeping up with the Joneses” of other schools. Rather, we are about teaching and modeling a conservation ethic, about morality in the face of climate crisis, and about leapfrogging to the experience-based education of the 21st century.

Pleasant buildings aren’t the only thing that boosts morale or sends kids the message that we’re investing in them. They’ll get that message if we pay for fantastic summer camp experiences for every kid. This is cheaper than construction and more directly helps kids’ academic levels skyrocket. Imagine: $2,000 per kid multiplied by 1,000 kids equals a mere $2 million! What a deal. Issue 11 phase one proposes $18 million for building contractors.

Memorable experiences of special enrichment programs are also more ecological than new building construction. We can’t just order a new school, or a new planet, from www.amazon.com. We shouldn’t teach our kids that we can just order a new school. We need to learn about our resource limits and how to balance our lives. Other needs in the community and in the world are much greater than for a stretch-limousine school — especially when two minivan schools will do just fine and we can add great sound systems, cargo trailers, and great drivers.

Aliza Weidenbaum