Current Elementary

A letter was in the newspaper’s Opinion Page last week in regard to not being in favor of a new building. That is certainly his choice…but I have several comments about this.

In the last 20 years, the district has added several programs, which require rooms for the benefit of our students.

Four rooms for Preschool - Remember, at one time the district did not have a 3 or 4-year old preschool (we now have 4 rooms for this), plus we use one for Transitional Kindergarten as well. In addition, in the past the district did not have an art program, which also needs a room.

The district has increased reading support, and has added one room in this area as well.

In addition, the district also added a special education program at the elementary, which accounts for another room.

Finally, the district added a room for our Instructional Coach, which she can use for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and other hands-on activities.

I just named off 8 rooms off the top of my head that were not needed in the past to provide education for our students. I likely missed one or more, plus we can no longer use the basement for our classrooms due to fire codes and exit access where we used to have some classrooms (vocal music most recently).

Finally, the district also cannot use the upstairs area above the stage for music based on safety concerns. Now the district has all music on the stage, next to the gym, which is also used for physical education.

Some want the school to buy a street from the city, purchase a house or two to expand the school to the south. What is that going to accomplish? Is it going to improve the safety for pickup and drop-off of students? No.

Is it going to make parking worse for parents, staff and others? The building needs to be replaced in an area with more space for our students in the community.

The building is historical. It cannot simply be gutted and repaired, and to do this would also be an extremely expensive band-aid. Remember, part of it was built in 1848.  That was before the Civil War! If this building is near and dear to your heart, I understand it will be for sale!

I would like to thank the past and present maintenance staff. You have and are doing a great job maintaining the building. But there is only so much that can be done. This building probably should have been replaced 50 years ago. I would also like to thank Administration, School Board, parents and staff, they have donated so much of their time to the tours.

I for one cannot put a price on a child’s education, or their safety. Children are our future. How can people say a child’s education and safety are worth “X” amount of dollars?

I have been to several meetings and it’s frustrating to see and hear people with closed minds. If you have not taken a tour, I encourage you to do so … but do it with an open mind.

It is an obvious choice to vote YES, YES for the Bellevue Community School District Referendum on April 2. It’s time to move on for the children, it’s not going to get any cheaper.

Rhonda Cunningham

Bellevue, Iowa