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Don’t sign the petition

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We can’t afford to be shortsighted or selfish when it comes to our children

By Stevie Lowery

It's time to call a spade a spade.
In last week’s edition, we published a story about a committee that has formed to petition to recall the nickel tax.
Four of the five Marion Countians on the committee also petitioned to put the nickel tax to a vote in 2007. Randall Lawson, Richie Lee, Robby Shewmaker and Robert Darrell Shewmaker were involved in a similar effort then, and they were successful in their efforts. The nickel tax was put on the ballot in November of 2008, and was recalled. (This time, Joe Livers has joined the committee.)
The majority of the committee members admit that in 2007 they were opposed to the tax, but they claim that’s not the case today. Richie Lee and Robby Shewmaker have publicly said they actually support the tax - they just want it put to a public vote.
Really? C’mon guys. Don’t insult our intelligence.
If you weren’t opposed to the tax you wouldn’t be petitioning it to begin with, now would you?
Let’s be real here.
You are talking out of both sides of your mouths.
You are opposed to the nickel, but you don’t want to take any responsibility for what could happen if it’s put on the ballot. Because, if you’re being honest with yourself, you can’t deny the fact that the local school district is in desperate need of upgrades to its facilities. And, if the nickel fails again, you don’t want any fingers pointed at you for the $40 million worth of facilities’ needs that won’t be funded because the school district simply doesn’t have the money.
If you are against the tax, be honest and say it.
You are more than entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Facts are facts, and the current conditions of our school facilities are not up for debate.
Fact: Our schools are old. Calvary Elementary and Lebanon Elementary schools are 51 years old. Marion County High School is 46 years old.
Fact: Our schools are overcrowded. Some of them have to turn away children because they don’t have enough space for them.
Fact: Our schools are not built and equipped for today’s technology. And, as a result, our children are at a disadvantage compared to students in neighboring school districts who do have upgraded facilities.
Fact: Some of our schools literally stink because the bathrooms are more than 50 years old. Go visit Calvary Elementary School and take a whiff.
Fact: Some of our schools literally don’t have enough bathrooms for their students. Marion County High School only has two restrooms for 950 students.
Fact: Some schools are forced to use janitor’s closets or copy room closets to counsel children.
Fact: Some schools have to cram five different teachers and their students into one room due to space issues.
Fact: Every single county surrounding us has supported at least one recallable nickel (in some counties, there are several) to help fund new and/or upgraded facilities.
Fact: The state government has matched every nickel that local school boards have passed.
Fact: YOUR state tax dollars are helping fund the new and upgraded facilities being built around us. Washington County, Boyle County, Taylor County, Campbellsville Independent, Danville Independent and Green County all have a recallable nickel and are receiving matching funds from the state. Anderson, Bardstown, Spencer, Garrard, Mercer and Nelson counties all have a growth nickel with matching funds from the state. Those are our state tax dollars at work for other communities.
Fact: We’ve thrown millions of matching state funds down the drain by not supporting the recallable nickel back in 2007-08… Around $3.2 million, to be exact.
Fact: Our school system, our students, OUR CHILDREN need our help.
It’s beyond time that we do what is necessary to help them. And, the biggest way we can help them right now is by supporting the recallable nickel. We can’t afford to be shortsighted or selfish, especially when it comes to our children.
At the end of the day, this issue is not about what’s in your pocketbook, it’s about what’s in your heart.
Don’t sell our kids short. Don’t put them at a disadvantage.
Support the recallable nickel.
Don’t sign the petition.