On Nov. 7, we the citizens of Hays have the responsibility to vote in a very important local election. The future of our K-12 education system is in our hands as we vote on the Hays USD 489 Board of Education proposed bond issue. Today, I am proud of that education system.

As citizens, we should provide our students, teachers and staff the facilities necessary to successfully educate our future citizens. We also elect board of education members to be our representatives, providing citizen over-site of our schools. It is those elected representatives who have conservatively guided our education system for many, many years without proposing a major bond issue. It is those board members, who we elected, that studied our facilities needs and are now asking us to approve this important bond issue.

Hays is not the only community in western Kansas who managed its school systems in a conservative manner for years, only to be faced with a need for a major education bond issue. Dodge City, Garden City and Liberal all have responded with a positive vote to invest in their community's future. Dodge City and Garden City invested more money in just their new high schools ($90 million-plus each) than the total of the Hays proposed bond issue ($78.5 million)

Liberal's bond issue passed with a 76 percent majority, approving a comprehensive bond issue to transform all their schools. The funding allowed Liberal to reduce its schools from 12 to nine, building five new schools and renovate the remaining four. Our Hays bond issue proposal builds two new facilities while providing safety and security upgrades, heating and cooling improvements for all our schools at a fraction of what our western Kansas neighbors spent.

We should support our elected representatives who have studied our school's needs and vote for this conservative plan. We should vote for this conservative bond issue proposal. By taking these actions, we will be able to continue to be very proud of our education system for decades to come.

Edward H. Hammond,