People may come and go, touched by the community of Grand Rapids in so many different ways. More often than not, the time people experience here is marked in some way by our schools.

Whether born and raised here or a transplant, the state and fate of our education system plays an important role in all our lives.

For local couples starting new families of their own to new people bringing their brood to town, schools often serve as a welcome mat for citizen involvement and investment.

Education is a major cornerstone for building healthy community. And this is true for all levels of schooling but evidence shows the most positive outcomes result from providing the best from the very start. Elementary education lays the groundwork for student achievement. From tying tennis shoes and learning to read to making first friends and sharing ourselves at show and tell, the hallowed halls of elementary schools are where so many people learn the basics in life. Because of this, people choose schools carefully. Who doesn’t want their children, grandchildren to enjoy the same great foundation they received from kindergarten and up?

School is a place where we begin to establish identity. It is also a place that often fosters lasting connections among alumni. School is where we grow to know how to stimulate our early talents and deal with our childhood conflicts.

For these reasons and more, schools can be the game-breaker in deciding whether to move into a new community.

We believe to maintain a strong, vibrant community we need to have suitable school facilities. We’ve seen firsthand the decline and congestion in all four of our local elementary buildings.

While no one likes to see increases in taxes, the building needs must be addressed. As long as the school district has carefully determined the current and future needs, along with future consolidation opportunities, we support ISD 318’s upcoming referendum to build two new elementary school buildings on sites in east and west Grand Rapids.

If voters choose not to approve the referendum, the school district will continue to be faced with the responsibility of accommodating larger student populations in cramped, aging learning environments and the community will be faced with the same dilemma again just a few years down the road.

By recognizing the obligation to provide the best foundation for our youngest minds, we will show them their experiences are important to us. Our elementary students may not fully comprehend what it may mean to add a few more dollars to our property tax bills, but when they walk into a new learning space that is adapted for their modern learning styles and comforts they will know we value them in this community.


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