On April 3rd, Beloit taxpayers, parents, and citizens will be asked to vote "yes" or "no" on a 70 million dollar referendum. The 70 million dollars, plus interest, will be paid by the Beloit taxpayers through increased property taxes over 20 years. Only certain schools will benefit from this referendum, if passed. Some schools get nothing. Others will be closed down permanently. The properties will eventually be sold. Neighborhood schools, for many, will become a thing of the past. Vacant buildings may linger for years.
There are many uncertainties. What school will our children attend? Where will the new school on the east side be built? What will become of the schools that close? Will the new configuration of grades 4-8 together in one school promote student achievement? What do we do if it doesn't work? How will our children get to school? How long will they be on buses each day?
Unfortunately, the referendum was rushed through so quickly that these questions will likely remain unanswered even as we go to the polls. Whatever needs are left out of this referendum will go unmet for another 20 years. It is critical to get it right and not rush into something not properly studied or planned.
Parents and students of Beloit want good schools. But good schools require careful planning. Good schools meet the needs of every student. The proposed referendum abandons some of our most needy buildings and programs. Each student deserves a good school. We deserve a better referendum!