By DIANE WOODWORTH
---- — I am writing this to encourage all registered voters within the Goshen Community School (GCS) district to exercise their democratic right to vote on Nov. 5. The school district believes that the option being presented to the community is a fiscally responsible one for everyone involved.
By closing two pools and having only one pool to maintain, the district will realize around $1.25 million in savings in one decade. This savings would allow GCS to purchase computers and maintain roofs, etc. In addition, this project would enlarge the Goshen Middle School (GMS) cafeteria, provide more room for the award winning music programs at both Goshen High School (GHS) and GMS, as well as provide more classrooms for special education and physical education at both schools. More details about the proposed project are available by viewing the PowerPoint on the GCS website (www.goshenschools.org).
All students that go through the district will benefit from this project. In this environment of open enrollment and voucher options, GCS needs to stay competitive and this project helps in that endeavor.
We were pleased with the Goshen Chamber of Commerce decision to publicly endorse this proposal as a positive economic development issue for the community. Studies confirm that in order for a community to be a vibrant growing place, in which people want to live, there must be a high quality school district located there as well. The two are intrinsically linked together. One aspect of being an excellent school district includes up-to-date and well maintained facilities, and this project addresses that component.
Questions have been asked regarding why the district has not yet decided on the location of the proposed pool, GHS or GMS. We do not believe it is prudent to spend money on site surveys and other needed research instruments until after the community speaks via the referendum vote. In addition, the curriculum and programs at both buildings will be considered, along with the site studies as part of the design build process. All of this information will be utilized to make a final decision on the location of the proposed pool.
Some folks are confused by how the district can be considering this proposal given the cuts we were forced to make in the transportation department. Because this referendum vote would raise the needed levy outside the property tax caps, there would be no change to the current transportation budget. In other words, with or without this proposed project, the current impact to the transportation budget, caused by property tax caps, remains the same.
The question has also been raised about the need to transport students for swim instruction to the proposed new pool site. If a new pool is located at GHS, and if the district decides to still offer swimming to middle school students or elementary students, then yes, transportation would be a concern. A decision would need to be made at that time to continue swim instruction or not for those students. If a new pool ends up at GMS, then this transportation concern would not materialize, as currently, all GMS students receive swim instruction every year as part of their physical education program and this could continue in that scenario.
For the median priced home owner in Goshen, this proposed project asks for an additional $3.09 per month in property taxes. We believe this is a modest number to ask in order to positively influence the education for GCS students. Therefore, again, we urge all Goshen Community Schools residents to vote on Nov. 5
Diane Woodworth has been superintendent of Goshen Community Schools since 2012