To the Editor:
Schools are the social, economic and cultural pillars of a small community. They are the place for town citizens to gather around our children for sporting events and music. The façade of the buildings are historic and a focal point for those passing through.
Successful students graduate and become business owners, educators, health care professionals, environmentalists, city employees, leaders of local government, booster club members and Fourth of July volunteers. There is a sense of belonging and spirit around traditions, colors and mascots, which is apparent in local business windows, people young and old wearing school apparel around town, and the flocks of people who buy stacks of pancakes at fundraisers to help keep extra-curricular activities afloat.
To ensure Bessemer remains a vibrant, positive place to live with successful children growing into prosperous community members, the school buildings must be improved. Investing in updated buildings through the upcoming referendum cares for both the schools and the children of our community.
Technology upgrades are crucial to comply with state standards by 2015. Installation of a security system and basic building improvements (such as boilers, lighting and air quality) will save energy costs and allow our children to learn in a healthy and safe environment — all things that will help our children succeed in school.
The community takes much pride in the Bessemer Area Schools due to high academic success and awards, athletics, music, arts, class offerings, dedicated staff and administration. It is the No. 1 school of choice for families who desire high achievement for their children.
The school performs with high respect in spite of the physical state of the buildings. It is time to bring the structure of the school up to the standards of the students and staff who are making it so successful. It is our responsibility as citizens of Bessemer to make this investment.
We cannot continue to ignore our deteriorating schools if we expect any positive growth in our town. Without repair now, the aging buildings and inefficient systems will get worse while the cost to fix them increases. We must take action.
Please vote “yes” for the bond referendum on May 6 because you believe our schools are pillars of our community.