As we approach election day on Nov. 6, I want to share my thoughts on the upcoming vote for the new Princeton Elementary school building.
From the practical standpoint:
• Need vs. Want? Much like personal finances, I needed to decide if this is truly a need for the community or is a want to have a nicer building. After a visit in these buildings, it’s evident the condition and functionality of the buildings are at the end of their useful life. Roofs need to be replaced, boilers are near the end of their useful lives, upgrades for both technology and security, etc. It is evident that significant investments will be needed in the next few years just to maintain these buildings.
• Renovate vs. Build New? $40M to upgrade the old or $35M for a new building? That is like asking me, do I want to spend $40k fixing my 15 year-old car or purchasing a new one for $35k that is more efficient and has more features? Or from a farmer’s standpoint, do I want to spend $400k to update my 1980 John Deere 6600 combine or would I rather spend $350k to buy a new? The math is the same.
• Good Stewards with our Money? Given unlimited resources, a single building that would accommodate preschool through 8th grade would be ideal. This all sounds great, but at a price tag of $60M (nearly double the current proposal), this is not practical. I appreciate the Board’s leadership’s ability to recognize this and present a more cost-effective plan.
From a community standpoint, let’s address the elephant in the room. No one likes to pay higher taxes! But as a citizen of this community, I realize taxes are a reality. I pay taxes for things that I do not receive a personal benefit from. What I do realize is that I have a personal responsibility for doing my part as a member of this community to invest in it now! This doesn’t matter if you have kids/grandkids in the schools or not. We all share in this responsibility to maintain and better our community for generations to come.
As you approach the polls on Nov. 6, I beg you to make an informed decision. Consider all the facts related to this vote. Look at how this important decision will impact the community as a whole, not just you personally.
Heather Meyer, Princeton