This well though out commentary is written by a Sangamon County resident, proud public school parent and supporter of the 1% For All Sangamon Schools Referendum. Please take a moment to read and absorb. It speaks to why this could be a great things for all of us.
“On the ballot is the question of the 1% raise in Sangamon County Sales Tax, specifically for public school brick and mortar improvements (in Springfield Schools). Please consider voting “YES” to this referendum. Want more information on the Facilities Master Plan? Want to know specifics on what is taxed and what is not? Visit www.sps186.org and click “Our Schools, Our Future” and visit www.onesangamon.com . Improvements are itemized categorically (elementary, middle, and high schools). Also posted are summaries of the other county school districts’ plans.
I come from a multi-generational District 186 family, and my 3 children currently attend District 186 schools. It is my opinion that the vitality of our neighborhoods and the appeal of our city to young professionals with children has suffered because of the lack of funds available to the district to make significant improvements over and above maintenance. The last referendum that passed was in 1984…34 years ago! This is not just an issue for people with kids who attend District 186 schools. This is an issue for the ENTIRE city.
It does not matter whether you have kids who go to private school; your kids are adults, or you have no kids. The strength of your neighborhood and the property that you own is dependent on the strength and appeal of your neighborhood school, whether or not you personally use it. (Then again, maybe you would choose to use it, if the facilities were up the 21st century standards.) Out-of-date buildings in need of renovation, additions, or replacement, lack of proper sports facilities (enjoyed by everyone who attends games at district facilities-private and out-of-district schools included), mobile units for additional classroom space, etc. are not appealing, no matter how good the teaching and programming is inside, and has contributed to the declining reputation and condition of Springfield in general.
For those of us who currently have students in District 186, the improvements listed in the master plan would replace, enhance, improve, and bring into the 21st century what we already know to be great. Please take a moment to look at the plan; view the building diagrams (find your home schools), and really inform yourself before you decide at the polls. It is extensive and has come from an exhaustive architectural and engineering study as well as a year and a half of public forums, and will improve building issues from classroom, to bathroom, to cafeteria renovations ,to safety upgrades, to performing arts improvements, to sports facility additions, and so many others.
There has been significant movement recently trying to address Springfield’s ability to attract young talent and businesses and to keep what is here from moving away, specifically with the formation of the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation and Innovate Springfield joining UIS as part of the Illinois Innovation Network. With the push, comes the fact that attracting businesses and young professionals also attracts families. They will be looking at District 186, hoping to see a community that supports its schools with attractive neighborhoods in which to invest.
Please show this support by making an investment in your community. Vote YES to the 1% County Sales Tax. Yes, you will pay $0.50 more for a $50 dollar pair of shoes but so will the person visiting Sangamon County from another county or state. But just think about where our community could be in 10-12 years because off that $0.50!”
-Written by Tricia Becker