To the Advertiser-Gleam:
Now that the majority of those who voted choose not to support the property tax plan to fund construction of a new high school, I hope people on both sides of the issue will work together to find a new solution to an issue that is not going away.
No reasonable person who examines the issue can logically conclude that we don’t need a new high school. The present building is inadequate for the needs of our community, it cannot be reasonably modified/expanded to meet the needs, and its physical layout even precludes our teachers from taking one of the easiest ways to protect our children and themselves from this ongoing pandemic since they cannot open windows to facilitate the exchange of fresh air.
When we bought our home here 10 years ago, we were looking for many things. We wanted a nice house at an affordable price, with access to the water, nature areas, etc. and Guntersville was one of many places that offered that. But we also wanted to find a community that we would be proud to be a part of, that provided an enhanced level of public services, and that offered the things that would attract new residents, businesses, and employers.
So for us, a nice house we could afford and access to the lake was just a starting point. We have been so impressed by the parks and recreational areas the city offers. Things like the walking trail on Sunset Drive and along the levee, the dog park, pickle ball and tennis courts were things we knew we would use and enjoy.
But I was also impressed with the ball fields, concert venues, public boat ramps and parking, and even the skateboard park, even if I didn’t see myself personally using them. I was impressed with a community that could and would provide these things for the full range of citizens. Likewise, public services like the police and fire protection offered, and a quality school system, even though we would never have children or grandchildren enrolled in them, were important attributes that attracted us here. And over the past 10 years we have come to know, and watch children in our neighborhood grow up and enter high school. We want them to attend the best schools, live in the best community possible, and want the best for them, just as we would for our own children. These are the same things that attract quality businesses, draw new residents, and keep a community thriving.
There are plenty of examples of communities that don’t offer these amenities and services and for the most part they are losing ground and residents. It says something positive about a community that seeks ways to reach agreement on how they can and will work together for the betterment of the community and all of its citizens.
So I’d like to see those who feel they “won” with the recent vote pause from their self-congratulations and commit to working with those who voted for the property tax to find a better way to fund construction of a new high school and let everyone in the community see that they also value the children in our schools and understand the need to support them, regardless of if they themselves have children in those schools.
It’s time to work with the mayor, city leaders, and the school system and find a way we can move forward with a plan that enjoys majority support across all segments of this community. Nothing is free and we all will have to contribute something, but that is one of the principles this nation was founded on and the students in our school system, present and future, deserve nothing less.
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