April 27, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 99

Good teachers need proper, safe tools

To the Editor:

On May 7, Bessemer Area School District voters will be asked to support a $6.67 million bond referendum for infrastructure upgrades to district schools. I will be voting in support of this referendum.

Improvements include upgrades to information technology and heating and ventilation, new roofs, buses, security and asbestos and lead abatement. This has been a contentious issue and about the only thing everyone agrees with is that $6.67 million is a lot of money. So what do we get for our investment?

At the April 16 public forum, it was mentioned that more than 90 school-of-choice students attend district schools, with more on a waiting list. That didn’t happen by accident. Those families decided to educate their children in Bessemer because they know their children will receive a first-rate education. They’ve heard and read about the national and state recognition this district and its students have received. And that’s a testament to this district’s administration, staff and teachers.

But talented educators can only do so much without the proper tools to work with. Teachers cannot teach if they’re competing with the band playing above them and future technologies cannot be take advantage of without the required hardware and bandwidth. And let’s not forget the most important aspect — the safety of our children.

Some have proposed alternatives that would reduce the bond amount but they don’t go far enough. Not only do we need to address the immediate needs of the buildings, but we must also ensure this district is positioned to take advantage of what the future has to offer. And that can only be done by passing this bond as proposed.

In 1993, district voters were asked to pass a $3 million bond. I’m sure many of the questions asked then are similar to those today. Those voters found the return of a better education for their children greater than any risk involved. Doing so again not only takes care of the district’s immediate needs, but also ensures that the Bessemer Area School District remains the leader in education well into the future.

John Frello

Bessemer