School bond vote will decide towns future

Saturday, March 25, 2017

I've been asking about the upcoming elections here for the past couple of weeks and have found less interest than I had hoped or expected.

In less than two weeks, Sikeston voters will decide the fate of a crucial school bond issue to construct and replace the aging Matthew Elementary School. Voters will also pick three new school board members and elect a new member to the Sikeston City Council.

Each and every one of these votes is critical on a number of levels.

Just two years ago, Sikeston voters rejected a $32 million issue that would have put a completely new face of public schools here.

But the price tag for that massive project scared many voters and the issue was defeated.

School officials have revisited the needs here and have adopted a much smaller and more targeted plan that will be decided in the April city elections.

Yet other than some residents who are passionate about the project, there is less discussion on the school bond fate than I would have expected.

The focus - or so it seems - is on the race for three school board seats among the seven candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring.

And given the recent history of turmoil and disagreement within the school board, it's understandable that much of the focus is on those races.

The school board race has even overshadowed the race for an open city council seat between two candidates. That in itself is somewhat unusual.

Long ago this newspaper decided against endorsements for school boards or city councils and our reasoning remains the same.

If anyone is willing to sacrifice their time and energy for public service, we feel our voice should remain silent.

Don't misunderstand. I have strong preferences for both the school board and council seats and, if asked, I will gladly share that opinion.

But from an endorsement standpoint, I will allow voters to make up their own minds without my chirping voice in the background.

Here's the bottom line.

Those in positions of authority within our city help to guide the future of the community we call home. So it's important that we make informed and sober decisions on those we entrust with our community's future.

There is no question that the age of Matthew Elementary is not conducive to learning in today's society. The single question concerning the bond issue is this: Is the plan offered by the school system the best plan for our future leaders?

Answer that question by voting in April and share your voice concerning the future for Sikeston.

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