Consider voting yes for new schools

To the Editor:

I am writing to encourage the voters in the Troy City School District to support the levy to construct new elementary schools.

I am a graduate of Troy High School. My son and daughter went to Troy Schools from Kindergarten-12th grade. My husband and I taught elementary school in Troy.

I went to Van Cleve for Junior High and taught there for 37 years and that building has a very special place in my heart, as do the people associated with it. The remodeling that took place in the early 70s was well done and the building has been extremely well maintained. It is one of only three elementary buildings to be handicapped accessible. But it is over 100 years old and the cost to bring the heating and plumbing into modern times and/or to add air conditioning would be extremely expensive. The fire alarms systems are in need of updating as well. And Van Cleve is only one of seven elementary buildings. Maintenance for the two new buildings will not be more expensive than what is being spent on the current seven even with the cost of air conditioning.

The state’s plan pays one third of school construction costs, but of course that comes with regulations that must be followed. One of those is that the construction money has to be approved by the voters before any money can be spent on plans.

Change is never easy- unless that change is winning the lottery — but change is a part of life. Often times, the changes we worry most about end up being much better than we expect. When the sixth grade building was being talked about, I was teaching sixth grade and had many reservations about the plan. The six years I taught in the sixth grade building were the best years of my teaching career, even though I loved the other 31!

Having all the students in one grade in the same building allows collaboration among the teachers. Teachers are very good at sharing successful ideas and being in the same building will facilitate that. It provides equitable class sizes and gives all students the same opportunities for field trips, assemblies and other educational experiences. The Washington, D.C. trip is an example for the sixth grade.

The Troy Schools have a wonderful reputation educationally. The administration has seen to it that the buildings are well taken care of. We are getting to a place where good stewardship and excellent maintenance will continue to become more difficult with the ages of the elementary buildings.

Please consider a yes vote for the students of Troy!

— Robin Bartley