The Emmett School District is one of the closest forms of local control you can get. At this level, every single vote counts. We hope you take the time to vote on May 18th. The Emmett School District has a bond resolution for a $68 million bond to build a new high school and repair other schools and buildings on the May 18th ballot.
But first, I want to say thank you to Gem County for passing the supplemental levy that was on the ballot in March. Yes, we were disappointed when the School Plant Facilities levy didn’t pass and we understand people had concerns.
The Board of Trustees decided to present a new option for the May 18th ballot because many said they wanted a new high school and they would not support a Band-Aid approach.
In March, when the two levies were presented to the county’s 11,110 registered voters, only 19.6 percent or 2,181 people cast ballots.
I’d like to see that number closer to 70 percent. Why? Because a greater percentage of the people in Gem County should make these important decisions for a truer perspective of local control. More than 82 percent voted in the presidential election last November, so we should be able to hit at least 70 percent in this important and local issue. Your vote will count.
I am unsure if it is apathy. Or not enough information for our patrons. I would like to address a few recurring issues with hopes that I can clarify facts or address your concerns before Election Day:
Planning for the Future: The proposed bond is not designed to address current enrollment needs. We have space today. But if approved, the overall plan will accommodate the educational needs of Gem County for many years to come. The shifting of students from building to building provides flexibility for all grade levels. This year’s enrollment numbers are lower this year because of COVID-19. We expected that, but we also know that the community is growing at a pretty fast pace. Determining capacity is subjective and depends on many factors, including student needs, and delivery of quality educational services.
Location and traffic: Please take time to review my comments, also published in this edition of the newspaper, about the site selection for the new high school and what would happen if the bond passes. I’ve talked with city leaders and we know that traffic on Substation and 4th will increase, but with road improvements and proper turn lanes (addressed after a traffic study) students and staff at the high school, as well as the two elementary schools, should be safe.
If not now, when?
In 1988, The Emmett High School Domes opened after a long, difficult and controversial process to provide students with a High School after Parkview Junior High was condemned. Before the Domes opened up, I was one of the many students who double shifted classes to accommodate both junior and senior high school students. It wasn’t fun. Shortcuts were taken to provide a quick and cheap solution to the problem and sadly, people are still unhappy about it.
In 1998, the bond to build Carberry and Shadow Butte Elementary schools was approved. With proper maintenance, those schools are 21 years old and will continue to meet the needs of students for years to come.
Bond measures in 2005, 2008 and 2018 failed.
Now, three years later, the Board of Trustees, after input from community members in an exhaustive process, is offering an option that provides a new high school, necessary maintenance and safety measures for students and staff and room to grow.
I appreciate all of the discussion that we’ve had regarding this election. I’ve tried to be transparent. I’ve tried to respond to questions, even when they have been posted on Facebook pages not under the purview of the Emmett School District. I’ve tried to listen.
It’s now up to you to cast your ballot before or on May 18th. I’m not asking you to vote yes. I’m asking you to vote. Take control at the local level. You let your voices be heard in November. It’s time to do the same thing on May 18 where your vote does count for local control.
Find more information about the Bond at www.emmettschools.org/Bond2021