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Plant City Observer Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 2 weeks ago

Letter to the Editor: How our students will benefit from the Education Referendum

Durant principal Pam Bowden advocates for the Nov. 6 ballot item.
by: Columnist Columnist

During an emergency, there are sections of our school that can’t hear the fire alarm. We never know for sure whether it’s going to work. Sometimes it goes off at the wrong time.

Our elevator is older than the maintenance workers who fix it — and they have to fix it constantly. When a student with disabilities can’t get upstairs to class, they miss that day’s lesson.

When kids are sweating, it’s difficult to learn. The second story of our school is especially hot. When kids don’t have wireless access to the Internet, which we don’t have in many areas of our school, they can’t use online learning tools. When the roof leaks on the gym floor it tends to bow, causing a dangerous situation for student athletes.

These are the types of things that could be fixed with the passage of the half-penny sales tax referendum, which is the final item on the Nov. 6 ballot. As principal at Durant High School, I see the impact of these problems every day. The Education Referendum would fix each of these issues, plus upgrade our technology to prepare students for a global economy, and keep our students in a safe environment — all things that are essential to learning.

If the referendum passes, the average family will spend $63 a year more in sales tax to make all these improvements to our schools. Just to make sure it’s spent as promised, a prestigious Citizen Oversight Committee has been named, headed by former USF president Betty Castor and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.

The Education Referendum is the final item on the ballot. By investing in our schools, everyone benefits. Not only will Durant fix its air conditioning and replace its elevator, our entire community will benefit through rising property values and a healthy economy.

Pam Bowden

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