I know the facilities at Newton Schools very well. For a number of years I worked for USD 373 as a janitor and then as a special education paraeducator. So I hope you believe me when I say that we need a bond!
Our buildings are falling apart and we can’t keep addressing issues with Band-Aids. We as a community need to step up and improve the learning condition for our most precious assets — our kids and teachers. There are many facility issues in our buildings, especially the high school. I think everyone can agree on that, so let’s address these issues with a bond. We have low interest rates and state aid available. If we don’t address these issues now, when will we?
I went to the “new high school” when it was first built and I am thankful for those who invested in my school. My children went to Newton Schools, my grandchildren went to Newton Schools, and now my great grandchildren are going to Newton Schools. The kids are listening to us. They don’t care about our taxes, or bond debt, or administration. They want to know the community they live in supports them and wants the best for them.
Please join me in voting yes!
— Cindy Becker, Newton
I am currently a senior at Newton High School. After spending over three years in the current building, I definitely have an opinion about the proposed bond issue. I’ve sat in the overcrowded lab room in science classes, been distracted while trying to learn in one class because I can hear teaching in the classroom next door, and the list goes on and on.
I am also a Railiner, the high school dance team, and dance at a local company here in town. We hold our end of the year recital in the auditorium at the high school. I’ve also participated in school plays. Here are several items needing attention in the auditorium: the stage needs to be completely redone; the boards are old and shifting, all the curtains need replaced — they are held together with duct tape and safety pins, there’s dust and mold in the pit under the stage and there are holes in the floor backstage making it difficult to walk around. Not to mention, half the lights and speakers do not work and many of the seats are broken.
School today is so much different and harder than previous years. The curriculum is harder and it’s more competitive. My classmates and I shouldn’t be made to feel ungrateful for asking for a safe and productive building to learn in. My class won’t even benefit from it, but we are looking out for future generations of Newton Railers. Please Vote Yes for Kids and do the same!
— Chandlor Buffalo, NHS senior
Not taking a risk
Regarding the pending bond election: I want to support question 1. The things it would do seem essential and would only cost more later. I wonder if there's state or federal funding the would be jeopardized if we fail to upgrade storm shelters.
As for question 2 — I will not support anything that would close Walton.
A bond promotional release from the school district on Facebook admits the Rural Life Center is a source of pride for Walton. That's an understatement; it's more like the soul of that community. When we toured the school, I saw class pictures hanging in the hall that dated at least back to the '30s. Question 2 would deny Walton the last active remnant of that heritage. It seems ironic that the school district, which is counting on Newton's community spirit to support both bonds, would bleed Walton's, and I don't think the bleeding would stop with closure.
As with every other homeowner in the district, Walton's would see an increase in mill levy with either of these bonds, and I have no issue with that. What the rest of us wouldn't share is the loss of property value that would hit them. In time, Walton's residents, and those in nearby rural areas, would find it harder to sell their homes, and the county's total property tax revenue, which also supports schools, would suffer for it.
This isn't just speculation. The loss of a school would be hard on any small town. The Midwest is full of examples.
In this election, the failure of question 1 would assure the failure of question 2. I may vote against 1 for just that reason. I won't support anything that would close Walton, and question 1 would allow precisely that risk.
— Dana Shifflett, McLain's
A business owner perspective
Vote yes. I attended schools not too long ago and class sizes were too big which made for big distractions. But with the bond issue vote this week, at a cost of only $10 per house per month for a house valued at $100,000, $5 per month for a $50,000 house, that gets us a whole new facility, major upgrades at every school, and people looking at Newton to stay. When I did get to be a part of smaller class sizes, I was awarded more of the personal attention of my hard-working teachers.
If you are a kid in a class of 30 versus a class of 20, it is harder to fight for answers. And spending this money will make class sizes smaller, enabling our number one investment, our future generations, their ability to find learning immersive, engaging.
I personally teach people on photography, computers, and video editing. And I know that the more one-on-one time you can give your students, the greater impact on their lives you can make. We all can remember the teachers that had a chance and the time to stand out and who touched our lives. We need to give them the opportunity to do that again.
Newton's new role for kids with a “yes vote” is to get them their answers and learning both quicker and easier. Improving our city keeps people here and makes them want to make Newton their home. I'm excited. Because of this, I’ll be voting yes.
— Rodger Nugent, Newton
I am voting yes! After much reflection and research, I am proud to vote yes for the bond. I have a great deal of respect for our educators, and am encouraged by their commitment to our children. I feel it is our duty to invest in our facilities to express our gratitude to our current educators, as well as investing to attract additional talent to educate our kids. These are not frivolous upgrades, they are upgrades that are must for both safety and learning. Anyone that has worked for a successful business knows that you continually need to improve both in your process and your environment. We must show our children we are committed to helping them succeed. Vote yes on the bond, and also remember to vote in November for people you trust will use these funds wisely.
— Kathy Moyer, Newton