The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bond referendum a generational thing


To the Editor:

Just as other Gogebic Range communities, Bessemer is made up of hardworking, strongly committed, churchgoing individuals who may not always see eye to eye. But when it comes to items of significance — items of importance which might change its culture — people demand elected officials listen and listen well to their wishes.

Bessemer’s diverse individuals sometimes differ, but on the major issues of monumental change, demand clarification before making their choices. This was first evident in 1994 with the A.D. Johnston High School bond approval, then again when considering the 2010 three-lane highway decision.

A recent topic concerning a medical marijuana dispensary brought out numerous Bessemer residents, along with other “concerned area citizens” at Bessemer City Council meetings. People expressed their opinions, applied pressures and lobbied council to do what they believed right. The council listened, and as a result, medical marijuana did not come to Bessemer at that time under formal council approval. The people spoke out and Bessemer’s culture was preserved.

After waiting better than two years, the roof at A.D. Johnston Junior-Senior High School last October was fixed, needing to be done. It resulted in a 10-year loan strapping future educational choices.

Now, Bessemer school district voters are being asked to study the internal components making up the 3.9—mill levy sought in May for 20 years. Regardless of a “someday” Wakefield-Marenisco consolidation, A.D. Johnston needs updating now to remain the junior-senior high school of choice. A new buildingacquisition and land development would cost $24 million to $26 million. Bessemer schools’ ability to attain only $63,000 per levied mill disallows such a venture. The state of Michigan will not approve Bessemer voters to seek excessive millage needed to do so. There will be no new building in Bessemer’s future.

The technology and safety of the day demand district buildings move into the 21st century. The question becomes, “Do our students deserve the right to compete in education’s new technological and electronic age?”

After 20 years between upgrades, isn’t it time to enhance technology, safety, heating, air flow and mechanical efficiencies? The concerns presented are of a generational nature. This is our children’s time, and just as we now, they will support later generations. The begging question before us May 6 is, “Will we bite the bullet, accept the needed property increases thus enhancing deficient buildings for our children?”

Al Gaiss



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