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Letter to the Editor: 5 reasons for supporting the school bond proposal

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Regarding the Proposed Ferndale High School Construction Bond 2019

Following are five topics to think about when considering whether to support the bond proposal or not. The bond is COMMUNITY SUPPORTED, it is NEEDED, it is FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE, it will allow a much WIDER range of careers for Ferndale students; and most important, Ferndale Schools are improving and earning our TRUST.

Evidence is clear that proponents are deeply committed and are in the majority. In the last two years I attended dozens of meetings attended by dozens of people concerned with the Ferndale High School facility. The “yes” vote for a bond about five years ago only reached 32 of the 60% needed for passage. The trajectory is positive.

Current High School buildings are worn out; replacement is more cost effective. One of the benefits of building new instead of remodeling is that we will end up with fewer buildings to keep secure and to heat. Building new will accommodate those students headed into the professions but it will ALSO accommodate those headed for careers in other fields. Fewer buildings will mean fewer points of entry. That will mean a safer campus for our students.

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The current construction bond proposal is very measured and fiscally conservative. The previous bond of five years ago would have cost tax payers $125 million dollars. The current proposal if approved will cost tax payers $112 million. The School Board and the bond research committee intended to make the final package modest.

Current buildings emphasize the academic model leading to professional careers. We need to widen our vision in building new to accommodate training for those who will enter the trades, sales, entrepreneurship, healthcare, and industry. We will have fewer drop outs as we widen our course choices and with the appropriate classroom construction.

Ferndale schools are improving. Five years ago nearly a third of ninth graders did not go on to graduate. Today nearly 86% graduate. We are not at perfection but the trajectory is a lot better; we will continue to earn your trust. The whole process of bringing the Bond proposal forward has been deliberate and slow enough for plenty of community input. We visited other more modern schools. We have had two non- voting student members on our Board for some years now. We value their perspective. Professional consultants informed us of what we were missing and what other Districts have been doing about high school construction.

So a “YES” vote for the bond is appropriate.

  1. The bond proposal is popular; the majority of voters said “yes” in November.
  2. The new school building will be safer, easier to heat and maintain for all students.
  3. It will cost millions of dollars less than the 2014 bond proposal.
  4. It will allow the school to offer more STEM and Tech programs and reach a more diverse group of students.
  5. Our attendance and graduation rates will continue to improve.

Please join me in voting “YES” for the February 2019 Ferndale High School bond proposal. The ballots have just been mailed out. We have until February 12 to get our votes in.

Hugh Foulke
Ferndale resident and taxpayer since 1962

[Editor’s note: Foulke is a member of the Ferndale School Board]

Letters to the Editor submitted to My Ferndale News are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher of My Ferndale News.

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