Letter to the editor – Dr Mark Peters, DVM

Dear Editor,

In consideration of the Greene County CSD proposed bond issue, I feel the need to respond to a recent letter in this publication that I believe contain misrepresentations of certain facts, innuendo and hearsay.

 John Thompson leads off his article with accusations that somehow the GCCSD is more interested in doling out money to banks and construction companies than educating children. The GCCSD has clear policies on the bidding process that takes place for construction projects.

He also states that a resident of the community felt lied to with regards to property taxes after town hall meetings concerning the new casino. This statement insinuates that someone from the GCCSD made such a statement at a town hall meeting. The GCCSD was not involved with the recruitment of, nor did it campaign for or against the casino and has no ties to the casino now. This project would have been proposed with or without the casino present.

It is a fact that if this bond issue is passed property taxes will go up. The property taxes that the school has levied have gone down eight years in a row and now sit at $12.47 blended rate for fiscal year 2016, which we are in now. If passed, the rate would increase to an estimated $15.21, which is less than fiscal year 2012.  Eight years from now, the voter approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy will expire which will reduce the property tax rate levied by the district $1.20.  This information and more can be viewed at www.gccsdbondissue.info. You can link to bond issue FAQ’s on the right side of the screen and also watch a video presentation.

The GCCSD board of education was also accused of violating rules of the Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure board. This is not true. The school district is allowed to disseminate factual information about the bond issue but cannot campaign for a yes vote.  This is why you will not see a letter from the board of education in the paper.  As an individual, I am entitled to my opinion just as any other taxpayer.

Thompson views this project as just moving students from one room to another with no benefit to the students. I disagree. By having our students in two facilities it will allow us to maximize our teacher leadership positions, increasing the effectiveness of our teachers through more collaboration and professional development.  We will also be able to maximize our use of technology among buildings.

The heating and cooling system of this project was also questioned and somehow linked to a prison construction project that did not go well.  Geothermal heating and cooling is widely recognized as one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool buildings.  It has many applications including residential, commercial and industrial.  A local company, B&D Manufacturing, produces geothermal systems.  Go to their website www.bdmfginc.com and click on “What is geothermal” which will take you to an Oklahoma State University website that will give you the facts about geothermal.

We are beginning the fourth year in the Grand Junction building. The GCCSD board of education was given a life span of 5-10 years after the remodel of that building which was carried out by the former East Greene district.  If this bond issue passes, construction won’t begin until summer of 2016 with completion for the 2018-19 school year. This leaves a grace period of four years.  Planning ahead so money is not spent repairing facilities that would not be needed in the future makes sense.    

At Greene County Schools we are committed to the education of all students. We have students that will attend 4-year universities, 2-year community colleges, technical schools, apprenticeships, and go to the work force immediately after graduation.  Our industrial technology, Ram Restaurant and vocational agriculture programs are second to none.  –

To continue moving forward with the best education, we need to use our resources in the most efficient manner possible.  We need to be efficient in the use of our instructors, administration, physical plants and the staff that run them, transportation and by any other ways we can think of.  The additions to our current buildings will allow us to do just that. 

Do not rely on misrepresentations, innuendo, hearsay or sarcasm to make your decision about this bond issue.  Get the facts and make your decision based on the analysis of those facts. I am willing to speak to anyone regarding the bond issue.  I can be reached at 515-386-8025 from 6-9 pm. 

Mark R. Peters DVM, Jefferson, and member of the GCCSD board of education


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