Letter to the editor – Mark Vander Linden

To the Editor:

In last week’s Herald, a letter from one individual called on the school board and administration to provide accountability to uphold the ‘No’ vote of the last two school bonds. But the concern is moot; there is no by-passing an election result. It didn’t pass and that was final. No buildings were constructed, the geothermal wells were not created, nothing involving the use of school bond financing took place. So, if there was any question on whether there was accountability in enforcing the “No” vote, the record shows there was 100 percent compliance. There is no bond debt from those campaigns. If there is still any doubt in your mind, then by all means, feel free to contact the Iowa Finance Authority and find out for yourself.

The individual also implied that because there have been two “No” votes that the rest of us should all just shut up, accept it, and move on. I further saw this sentiment echoed by a few individuals on social media, and I take exception to this mentality. You see, we live in a democracy. We don’t have a king, emperor, or dictator who tells us “No” and forces us to drop the matter forever. In a democracy, we are afforded the opportunity to change proposals, and see if the next version of a plan is more acceptable to the public. (And contrary to the beliefs of some, all of us have a constitutional right to vote, whether we own land or not!)

We all know that the 2016 school bond did not meet the 60% super-majority required in order to pass. However, it did garner 53 percent of the vote where the results showed that the majority of people within the school district recognized there was a definite need to improve and modernize school facilities.

The 2018 school bond places before us a new plan. This proposal is significantly different than the previous two. We have an opportunity not just to vacate an outdated 100 year old middle school and build a new high school facility, we also have an opportunity for a career academy that will promote economic development by supplying career training to meet the needs of local businesses and local agricultural companies and producers.

Since moving my family to Greene County in 2013, we have seen a tremendous amount of economic growth. We’ve seen several new business come to the area and/or local owners investing and reinvesting in their businesses: Hy-vee moved in, the Casino was built, Bauer Built sold a business line to John Deere and started a new business line, Scranton Manufacturing expanded its operations, Jefferson Main Street has undertaken a massive renovation project partnering with local businesses to enhance store fronts, Grand Junction came together to create a nice Community Center, Fudges Flowers and Bunkers Dunkers both have new ownership, Meythaler Photography moved in, A&W is now open year-round, Greene Bean Coffee opened its coffee shop, New Hope Consignment shop opened, More Time/Shine on Design has a new shop, Sensibly Chic started operations, and there are likely others that I have missed. Each of these individuals, groups, and businesses are making an investment in the greater Greene County area to improve our lives and livelihoods. These investments won’t just pay off now but will pay dividends in the future as well.

So, how do we continue investing locally? We come back to the decision which stands before all of us. The 2018 school bond is a new plan, with opportunities that will likely not be offered a second time. Will we seize this opportunity or let it slip away? It’s time to exercise your constitutional right to vote on April 3. It’s time to invest in our children. It’s time to invest in our future.

Mark VanderLinden, Jefferson

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