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KIM ROSS: Securing the future

February 10, 2014

Yes — that’s our vote on the Poteau School bond issue voters will face Tuesday but we hesitate to predict it will pass.
It is an attractive duo of propositions, addressing issues the Poteau Daily News feels are inevitable and necessary for the benefit and productivity of Poteau students. The offer to provide students with modern technology, safer schools, more reliable transportation — and all of it comes with a price tag already included in district property taxes, so no pockets will be pilfered for the proceeds — it couldn’t sound sweeter.
Our children are the future. Excellence in education is a must. They must be afforded adequate facilities, materials and tools to make their educational environment welcoming and enticing to facilitate their hunger for knowledge. Nothing should hinder their comprehension of the wealth of information at their fingertips. Students should not be late for school or returned home because they were stranded on the side of the road, having ridden an aged, over-used bus that finally went kaput.
But we can provide.
Students should not be packed in a classroom like kippers in a can. Space is of highest importance. Classrooms should be roomy, making movement easy and providing personal space. Poteau students have expanded beyond the boundaries of the brick-and-mortar walls, and with population growth hastening the need for expansion, we must face the fact — we can’t build up so we must build out. All the Poteau campuses are landlocked, having already outgrown what the community’s forefathers believed decades ago would be sufficient for the future.
But we can plan.
Students should not fear school. Kindergartners should not have to learn how to hide from an armed intruder. Whether teachers should carry guns should never be a question this nation should have to answer — but we have. Every parent, student and faculty member is aware there is no determining when or who may launch an armed assault, striking at our children.
But we can prepare.
We believe the students of Poteau are well deserving of the proposition’s promised improvements.
The only issue we take is the lovebird-paring of security and technology with land in proposition 1. A voter who wants better security and technology, but on the other hand doesn’t agree with purchasing 25-30 acres of land for future expansion either has to give the students everything or nothing. The land has been the biggest issue with district residents. There is no surety the voters would approve the building of a new high school and activity center or early childhood learning center in the coming years.
The appearance that the land was lumped with the security and technology for sympathetic reasons runs afoul of fairness. There should have been three propositions — transportation, improvements and property.
We hope the students reap the benefits of all the items the district proposes but wonder if the manner in which the issues were presented for vote may result in the opposite effect.
But we can pray not.

Kim Ross is the editor of the Poteau Daily News. Email her at editor@poteaudailynews.com.

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