I write this letter as a city of Iron Mountain tax payer, local educator, and most importantly, as a parent. I have two children who currently attend Iron Mountain Schools, of which I am an employee. I find myself in a unique position as both an employee and a parent to offer a response to Ms. Wiederrecht's recent letter regarding the upcoming bond proposal. Let me preface this by saying that by law, not one cent of the bond money can be used for employee salaries, so I am not writing this out of a personal financial interest.
Please do not shout "bloody murder" about this proposal. It isn't about tablets, or being "cool." As a first grade teacher, you'll find me far from being cool, or caring about being cool. What I do care about is our children: their safety, their well being, and their quality of education. I have dedicated the last 21 years of my life to caring for children - all children.
This bond is not just about technology - it's about student safety, and having necessary upkeep on our buildings - things that impact all of our students. Make no mistake, the bond does address technology needs, but that is only a portion of what is included.
This bond will allow our district to implement some important safety measures.
In the unfortunate event that an intruder were to get into one of our buildings, wouldn't you as a citizen want to know that safety measures such as a central lock system, web based security system and secure classroom doors were in place? The bond can provide some peace of mind in relation to student safety by providing the aforementioned items.
Much like a house, our school buildings require routine maintenance. Due to cuts at the state level, our district does not currently have the funds to address basic needs such as roofing, heating and furnishings. I cannot tell you how many of our student desks have broken hinges due to normal wear and tear. This bond isn't about bells and whistles. It's about providing necessities like student desks and faucets on classroom sinks.
The Bond Committee (of which I have not been an active participant) has listened to the voters of Iron Mountain. They are asking for less money over a shorter period of time, have trimmed expenses from the technology portion, have proposed a new use for the Central building, and have re-worked their plans in order to keep seventh and eighth graders separate from the high school.
I will tell you, I went to bed on election night with tears in my eyes, saddened that the voters of Iron Mountain didn't value our children enough to provide increased safety, basic necessities, and yes, technology.
There is an African Proverb that says, "It takes a village to raise a child." We don't live in a village - we live in a city. What an awesome opportunity.