Friday, April 19, 2024

Letters to the editor Sept. 20

| September 20, 2023 12:00 AM

Focus on teachers first

I completely understand why the Whitefish School Board wants the passage of another and another, and yet another bond issue to finance more and more, and even more "things" they feel our students need.

The school board feels Whitefish schools need to compete with other area schools, period. Whitefish needs to be bigger, brighter and bolder than any other public school in the Flathead Valley.

No, it doesn't.

Whitefish schools need to address the needs of our instructors and support staff, for once. The school board needs to put their minds together and craft measures to enrich, maintain, and nurture our educators here in Whitefish.

Hold off on all the fancy buildings and recreational facilities for the students, for now. Give the educators and staff what they deserve, much, much more than just a pat on the back.

—Skeeter Johnston, Whitefish

Students deserve comfort and stability

For the better part of nine years starting in 2013, I had the pleasure to serve this community on the Whitefish School District Board of Trustees. Across those nine years, we saw a lot of ups and downs. One thing that only went up was the enrollment for the district, and it has done so in a remarkably consistent way. The enrollment was especially interesting to watch because if you looked back for decades prior to 2012 you would see peaks and valleys and a lot of year-to-year variation in class size. For those prior decades, the enrollment was anything but consistent and ultimately a pretty flat growth curve.

Since 2012 on the other hand, kindergarten classes continued to come into the district on average at larger numbers than the senior classes that were graduating. We watched the wave grow over the years and first responded with the new Muldown Elementary School. Now it is clear to accommodate this sustained growth the High School needs to expand. This proposed bond will provide for the growth of the coming decades.

The timing is right. Students, teachers and administrators are already feeling the pinch on a day-to-day basis. Further, with the completion of the Middle School Bond, there will be tax relief, and a byproduct of the growth we are experiencing is a broader base to draw tax revenue. These realities will soften the impact.

At the end of the day, what is being asked for is a space where our students feel comfortable, stable and supported. That is the kind of environment we know that it takes to be successful regardless of the stage we are in our lives. I would argue that in our teenage years, comfort, stability and support are more vital than at any other time in our lives. That is why I will be voting yes to the High School Expansion Bond.

—Nick Polumbus, Whitefish