Ellis has a choice
In 1974, Gerald Ford was president, "All in the Family" was a TV favorite, a first-class stamp was 15 cents, a gallon of gas was 85 cents, median annual income was $16,500, and I was an eight-grader.
That year was also the last time the voters of Ellis USD 388 passed a bond to construct the "new high school." Thirty-seven years ago, voters clearly made less than we do now and likely had larger families to support. Yet, they had a vision for the future of Ellis and were willing to sacrifice to achieve it and now can be proud of the legacy their "Yes" vote left for future generations.
Few people my age shouldered the burden of that bond. Yet, how many of us, our children and now grandchildren have reaped the benefits of their decision?
I believe I might have voted "no" in the last bond election. I agreed with approximately 70 percent of the bond but struggled with the remaining 30 percent. Knowing, as all bonds do, until they are passed, it would reappear this year, I had nearly six months to ponder my next vote. I reflected on the 30 percent and decided there would never be a perfect bond or a perfect time.
I watched the current state legislative trends for school funding, along with the moving trend of mandatory consolidation, and knew they weren't talking about Overland Park and Shawnee Mission. With two-thirds of the state's population east of Salina, it didn't take long to figure out western Kansas is on the watch list. This confirmed my "yes" decision. I decided if we had successful students, excellent faculty, updated facilities, a state-of-the-art stadium, community pride and a vested interest in our school system, we were securing our future.
I agree we are all very heavily taxed, especially on a state and federal level. We pay our taxes with the hope our elected officials are spending it wisely; however, with this bond, it will stay local. It is for us, our town, our school, our children. If the bond passes, we will be able to see classrooms, a new gym, a new football stadium, and with the HVAC loan payoff, we will be freeing up money for additional needs of the district. This is our opportunity to leave a legacy as well.
As you stand alone in the voting booth, away from the influence of social media and casual debate among friends, look to the future as the voters of 1974 did. What do you want for the community and school in 10 or 20 years? Truly consider the question: If not now, when?