Southland school working with people of the district

By Wayne Kiefer

Southland School Board Treasurer

To the Southland public who received an unsigned letter regarding a new school in the north end of the district, I would like to address some of the comments made in the letter.

As a board member, when I receive a letter about our school, the first thing I look for is a signature and who wrote it. An unsigned letter can come from anyone, including someone outside of our district, who is trying to press their own agenda without taking ownership of their statements. When a letter comes unsigned, there is no way to verify the intent of the writer. This should cause any reader to raise a red flag. Newspapers even have requirement that Letters to the Editor need to be signed or will not be printed. Why do you suppose that is? Because individuals are entitled to their opinions but also need to be held accountable. One could consider any letter that comes unsigned, similar to the new term we hear called “Fake News.”

To address the issue raised regarding a new school in the northern part of the district. This individual or individuals have a “ build it and they will come” message in the letter. The Southland school board has no way of knowing, and neither does anyone else, that moving our school to the north end of the school district—only 6 miles from another school—would help with declining enrollment. This individual or individuals are asking the Southland school board to essentially gamble with tax payer money. We are a fiscally responsible board that does not make assumptions and did look into the possibility of building a new school through a survey this past summer. This survey, which had a record amount of respondents from the school district, demonstrated voters in this district were not willing to pay for a new school (regardless of location).

Why the survey and why won’t there be another one? This individual or individuals compare the survey to computers. When it comes to education, the school board and administration knows and stays up-to-date on needs of our kids so surveys are definitely not needed for such decisions.

Fixing our MS/HS. First of all, with the exception of the 1917 project, there is no part in our school that is over 100 years old as is mentioned in the letter. Second, as a construction worker and supervisor, who has been involved in remodeling 17 schools since 2010, I can tell you that many districts remodel older buildings and they turn out like new when construction is complete. This is due in part to the strong foundations from which these schools were built.

In this fast-paced world with many sources of information, it is up to each and every one of us to be familiar with the sources of information we read. Fake news is all around us and spotting it can somewhat be challenging. However, one tip off or red flag to all of us should be when we receive unsigned propaganda. The Southland school board has and will continue to provide the district with factual information signed by our school board.

The board and facility committee has looked into what a new school would be in comparison to remodeling our MS/HS since 2016. Plenty of research has been done on this already and it always came back to the people wouldn’t pay for it. The survey once again clearly identified that to be true.

To be clear and transparent, based on discussions and the survey results, the board will not revisit or reopen the possibility of a new school.

Lastly, the Southland School Board remains committed to being fiscally responsible with tax payer dollars. After listening to you, the voters of our district who responded to the survey this past summer on how best to proceed, we have put forward a responsible referendum. Our priority has been and remains in the best interest of the kids.

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