2013-10-30 / News

WLCSD Safety, Security Bond Proposal Deserves Your YES Vote

BY JIM STEVENSON
PUBLISHER


Jim Stevenson, Publisher Jim Stevenson, Publisher Spending money, no matter how much, is always a matter of personal choice. Individual purchase decisions can be as simple as choosing to buy a cup of coffee on the way to work or as complicated as deciding to invest in a new roof for your home. Each decision is a choice, some more important than others.

When it comes to asking voters to spend more, public officials have the responsibility to evaluate the cause and make sure what taxpayers are being asked to pay for is justified. In the case of the upcoming Walled Lake Consolidated School District $67.5 million Security, Safety and Technology bond proposal, the WLCSD Board of Education has thoroughly done their due diligence.

The seven members of the WLCSD Board of Education listened to parents, district residents and business owners about security and safety concerns at each of the 19 separate school buildings. There were some glaring deficiencies in the district’s safety and security plan. After conducting an initial review last year, some changes were immediately implemented. After the safety review it was clearly evident to parents and school administrators that much more could be done to protect students.

More than a year ago a diverse group of Walled Lake parents began to ask a myriad of questions related to building security and safety. How safe is my child? Was it easy for someone to enter a school undetected? Could something similar to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut happen in Walled Lake? Unfortunately the answer to those questions was yes. Within a few months of the first parental inquires new procedures were established to strengthen security. Yet it was obvious that more could and should be done to protect our children from outside intruders.

The upcoming bond proposal idea originated with parents who care deeply about the safety of their children and those in all Walled Lake schools. The citizens’ committee, working in conjunction with administrators, teachers and the Board of Education, looked at dozens of different ways Walled Lake’s schools could be made safer. From the first parental concern to the decision to ask for the support of a new bond from taxpayers, the process was one of collaboration and vision.

Passage of the $67.5 million Safety, Security and Technology Bond will allow WLCSD to make upgrades to school entrances, install keyless entry systems, emergency management and lighting systems, video surveillance and classroom technology improvements. The district’s sinking fund that voters renewed in the last election brings in roughly $2 million annually, not nearly enough to make the proposed security investments. The renewal of the sinking fund provides monetary resources for yearly maintenance, things that the general fund budget cannot cover.

The cost to a Walled Lake taxpayer with an accessed home value of $200,000 is under $100 per year, which is less than $2 per week. That’s one less cup of coffee or dessert you really don’t need.

Asking taxpayers to dig into their pockets can be risky. For a ballot proposal to pass voters must be confident money raised will be put to good use and clearly explained. There have been a plethora of Walled Lake community forums, service club and neighborhood meetings so that residents could ask questions. Complete transparency has taken place. The benefits have been clearly defined and communicated.

The Walled Lake Consolidated School District Safety, Security and Technology Bond proposal deserves your yes vote. Your children will be safer with passage of this important initiative. Jim Stevenson is Publisher of the Spinal Column Newsweekly. Comments can be made online or via email to: jimstevenson@scnmail.com

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Mr. Stevenson I wanted to

Mr. Stevenson I wanted to directly express my disappointment in your endorsement of the current bond proposal. It seems in your endorsement you failed to mention any of the non-safety or security items that are in this proposal. Furniture, swimming pool covers, class room amenities and to top it all off BUSSES. This is what you call old fashioned pork politics. You tug on the heartstrings, imploring the need for safety for the kids, then pile on other non-essential and unrelated items. No where on the WLCSD website could I find a line item budget with costs for each item. Where is the transparency? Now here is the real troubling issue; we are financing items that will last 5-20 years for 30 years!! This is not a fiscally sound practice and spells doom for the school system in the long run. Would you take out a 30 year loan for car you know would only last 10-15 years? I would think not and we should not be doing it either. Seem as though you have failed in your due diligence on this topic.