Wilder's Whole World: Denison Bond Revisited

By: Dwayne Wilder

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This bothers me.
 
I wrote about the “Yes” signs in the yards of Denison residents in support of the Denison schools $80 million bond election a few weeks ago. Since then, I have seen more “NO” signs popping up around town; more than I would have thought possible.
 
And it bothers me……………………………..
 
I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, even when it goes against the crowd; especially when it goes against the crowd. Yet, the addition of these new signs shows me that more people are against the bond. I respect their stance, but it’s hard to understand.
 
It appears that the dissenters have a problem with the number itself because the signs say,
“Vote NO to $80 million” not “Vote NO to the bond.” This is a large number – in any city – but one that was cut down from $100 million to the bare essentials to bring the district’s students security and up-to-date facilities in a cost effective manner, which will pay for itself over and over in the future.
 
I can only assume that these NO people are okay with the actual bond package changes, which of course makes sense to me. These are good, solid ideas to help the students and the district function appropriately. But unfortunately, the dollar amount is the cost of having those necessary changes and repairs. Again, yes, it is a high dollar amount, but it is in line with the economy now and the work it will allow to happen. AND it will save the school district money over the long term.

Those three concepts make this an approvable bond package.
 
If you visited any of the campuses, you saw the downright necessity of the repairs and updates—you saw students and teachers learning and teaching from the 1970s at best……………OK! I’ll even give you the 1980s. Still, that’s 30 years out of sync; almost two generations ago.
 
Hey, NO people! What if you had to do your job NOW with 1980s equipment and space limitations? It wouldn’t be any fun……………………….
By doing something now, Denison schools and its voting residents will be making a secure future and give its students the proper environment and equipment for generations to come.
 
                                                                        *
 
I don’t look at the school board or the DISD administration and think, “Oh, they are just trying to trick us into getting a new high school.” Those people have looked at the empirical evidence – and some of them have for decades – and seen the only possible conclusion: there needs to be massive change to bring this school district up to date. And not just for the city, but for the students who will walk those halls in the future.
 
Speaking of the “city,” I don’t mean city officials or the official “City of Denison.” I mean the Denison community who have children in school or have grandchildren in school or who will have children in school or who know students in the schools. We are a community of people who want a quality of life that helps individuals and families prosper along their life’s journey……………and that includes good, productive schools.
 
Sherman has had two bond packages – one which included two new elementary schools and an educational center – in the past 20 years. They have made the changes to their school system in order to have a secure district and a modern learning environment for their students.
 
Denison didn’t do that, but would it work now? Let’s say DISD decided to have a school bond election every five years or so……..for say….$20 million each time………..In 20 years, we’ll be up to $80 million, BUT it will be 2031!!!
 
Can you guess how much inflation and those costs will be 20 years from now? And $20 million at a time won’t build a new high school! What are we suppose to do? Reconfigure the elementary schools and let the final four grades hold classes outside for four years!!!
 
How incredibly ludicrous! But is $20 million a better number - a lower number - for NO people?
 
Of course that won’t work! In the time Sherman was getting its bonds done, Denison was trying to make do with what they had over the two decades or more. Any new items or repairs came out of the budget if there was any leftover. The principals had to cram children in closets and divide rooms into two smaller classrooms. They and the administration simply did what could be done with what was there. And now, there is nothing left for them to do.
 
The “NO” people view taxes going up as the sticking point. For a $100,000 home, the new taxes, if the bond passes, will be about $15 per month; that’s 50 cents per day! That’s a small price to pay to have secure schools and an up-to-date environment for students. And $80 million is less than Sherman’s two bonds combined.
 
Where were all those NO people when the district was ‘making do’ with what they had?! I don’t remember any cheers or ‘Way to go, Denison schools!’ Yet, now, those same people want to stop what must be done for the students?!
 
Guys, you can’t have it both ways…………………………..
 
There is no “NO” in this issue. (Pardon the double negative—in mathematical terms, two negatives does equal a positive - YES) We have to do what’s right. Nothing short of fraud in the bond package would change that simple fact. Denison and its children need the new school plan for all the right reasons.
 
“YES,” Let’s give it to them!


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