We are the owners
To the Editor,
I am a graduate of Heights High, and parent of three kids in CH-UH schools, currently at all levels—elementary, middle and high school.
I am committed to our CH-UH school district in all its complexities, strengths and weaknesses. It is a remarkable and special place.
I have been involved, since the beginning, with the schools facilities process. Now, after three years of work, we have a plan and a bond issue (81) on the table. There are many reasons I know this is the right thing to do, from [maintaining] appropriate temperatures in classrooms to the importance of spaces that reflect the value we place on education and the potential of our youth.
But there is one reason that rises to the top, and that is, quite simply, the deplorable condition of the buildings, especially the high school. I have taken an in-depth look at all our buildings, head to toe, roofs to boiler rooms. I have pictures in my head of aging, leaking pipes, outdated and convoluted wiring, buckling floors, and groundwater seepage. I picture the dark, cramped, ill-equipped chemistry room where my 10th-grader now spends an hour a day. I can’t get those images out of my head. I replay them over and over, looking at them with the eye of a parent and a school supporter, yes, but also with the eye of a property owner.
Because I do own those buildings. As a homeowner and taxpayer in this community, I, along with my neighbors, own them, just as I own the roads and the library and the community center. I look at them and the condition they are in with the same eye I would use to look at any other piece of property I own.
When I bought my home I made an investment, not only for my family, but also in this community. I owe it to my neighbors to maintain that property to such a standard that we all continue to find this a desirable place to live, a place we are proud to call home. Sometimes all that requires is regular maintenance, like the tuck-pointing and painting I will do this fall. Sometimes it requires significant renovation or rebuilding, like the unplanned work we did this summer, caused by old plumbing and structural issues that could not be ignored.
We are at that place now with our school buildings. Together we own these buildings, and together we share the responsibility to maintain them to the standard by which we want our community to be defined. Regular maintenance will no longer do the trick. We are throwing money in an ever-deepening hole, trying to patch and fix problems that are more responsibly and appropriately addressed by renovation or rebuilding. It is time for major reinvestment.
The Lay Facilities Committee put together a solid plan, one that considers the needs of the district in terms of operations and instruction, and the values and desires of the community, as expressed over the last few years. It has done so with a sincere appreciation for the limited resources of our community and has kept an eye on the bottom line while not cutting necessary corners. It has recommended phasing that is sensitive to the disruption of our students.
This plan is before us, the owners, this Election Day. We must make the responsible choice of investment in the future. It won’t get any cheaper. It won’t get any easier. We have a funding window open to us now that will close very quickly. Now is the time.
I love this community and hope to live here for the next 40 years, and because of that, I will continue to reinvest in my home. Please, let’s make that same investment in our public buildings. Our kids are worth it. Our community is worth it. Please vote YES on Issue 81.
[Dallas Schubert served on the Lay Facilities Committee.]