Retired teacher says buildings are not crumbling

To the editor:

Many rumors and outright falsehoods have been stated recently in an attempt to push forward a bond issue that would see the local taxpayers spend millions of dollars. One of the misrepresentations that has been perpetrated is that our buildings are deteriorating and crumbling almost in front of our very eyes. As a 37-year teaching veteran of the Mt. Pleasant Community School District, 32 as an eighth-grade language arts teacher and five as a substitute who taught in every building in the district, I would like to clarify and correct some misleading ideas that have been stated recently.

One statement that nothing has been done to the elementary schools is an outright falsehood! In the past few years, the elementary schools have received new roofs, new boilers, new floor coverings, new windows and updated restrooms. Because Mt. Pleasant experienced an enrollment increase in the late 1980s and 1990s, there were major classroom additions to Van Allen, Lincoln and Harlan. The backbone of the district?s internet system has also been upgraded to accommodate an increase in system security, computer usage and the speed at which the data is transmitted.

Addressing the secondary upgrades: the new high school building opened its doors in the fall of 1999. It will not need a new roof for many years. It has a metal/steel roof that is less than 20 years old. The life expectancy of a metal/steel roof is estimated to be 50-plus years.

I was fortunate to be teaching in the middle school at the time of a major remodeling. In the fall of 2008 we opened our doors to a nearly new building with state-of-the-art facilities.

Regarding the statement that ?if there was money available, why didn?t they put in AC, it is important to understand how the SAVE Fund (penny sales tax) has evolved over the years. The SAVE fund is a relatively new funding source available to school districts to pay for infrastructure projects. Today, the SAVE funds available to the Mt. Pleasant Community School District are substantially higher than when it was a local-option tax which generated funds only from taxes collected within the county. This increase would allow our current board and superintendent to go forth with the air conditioning of the elementary schools without a multi million-dollar bond issue.

The former Mt. Pleasant Community School boards and superintendent oversaw a district in a fiscally sound manner. However, they did not allow our schools to become deteriorated or out of date. They were constantly planning for the future and moving our district forward and most importantly listening to the district?s constituents. They believed in working together for the benefit of the children. With the current environment of mistrust of the school district administration, I do not believe it is the right time to put forth a multimillion dollar bond that has very few regulations. I am voting a resounding no on September 9 and hope you will join me.

Debbie Batey,

Mt. Pleasant