In my opinion, there are many things that I feel are essential to Sandpoint’s quality of life and are worthy of supporting with tax dollars: Police and fire safety, clean water and public access areas, green space for camping and family outings, libraries that are well-stocked and well-maintained, and of course, education that opens doors to bright futures for our children. I understand that it takes a leap of faith to believe that an investment in students today will benefit our town for years to come. But isn’t that what the citizens of Sandpoint believed as they supported the building of schools over 60-plus years ago?
In an age of public access to to data about schools and related quality-of-life issues, it is crucial to make educated decisions about funding our buildings and programs. Having lived all over Idaho as a public servant, I have seen how small towns live or die based on how we take care of our own citizens and prepare for future generations. Businesses will make decisions as to whether to come here based on how solid our educational system is, and whether an area’s citizens are supportive of education. They know that their employees, often young families, are willing to relocate only if they envision a positive school experience for their children. They also need well-educated local employees with whom to fill jobs.
Our world has changed, and technology has become an integral part of daily life. Infrastructure that was satisfactory decades ago is not adequate now. Continually repairing 60-year-old plumbing and wiring is neither efficient or effective. Maintenance to put band-aids on structural issues such as septic woes, steam leaks, disintegrating pipes, and decades-old sludge in underground kitchen grates is expensive and not cost-effective in the long run.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “A nation that expects to be ignorant and free wants what never was and never will be.” Funding education has been historically controversial – even hundreds of years ago! But someone chose to fund schools for our education, and now it is time for us to step up.
For all these reasons and more, I am respectfully asking for voters to place their vote on August 30th.