McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 16, 2014

If not now, when?

By Amy Johns

McALESTER — If not now, when?

Coming up in just a couple of weeks we are going to be entrusted with doing our part to pay for public education. That’s right — our part to pay for public education. Come on folks. The McAlester Public School system belongs to our community. Why shouldn’t we want the absolute best for our children? MPS has brought this issue before us several times. Each time, for a multitude of reasons, the answer has been a resounding no. Too much money, too fancy, not necessary — blah, blah, blah!

Why on earth would the building of a brand new, state of the art early childhood center NOT be a good thing for our community? Why, for the love of Pete, would bringing the newest and best technology into the schools for our children to learn from NOT be good for our community? We’re not talking FANCY here. We’re talking a safe place for our children and grandchildren to learn. A place where children will be engaged and empowered to set goals and follow their dreams. A place conducive to learning. A place where the children of McAlester will be able to compete for more than just minimum wage opportunities. A place where children will not have to settle for mediocrity and instead reach and achieve higher goals.

This bond election isn’t going to cost anyone excessive amounts of additional money. Besides — it’s our responsibility to invest in our public school system. Based on results, we’ve been like a homeowner that decides it’s too much money, it’s not necessary, it’s too fancy and lets the house go to rack and ruin and fall into utter disrepair.

It’s not the beginning of a nightmare that is the issue. It’s the continuation of the nightmare. The nightmare that began years ago when the majority of folks decided it was no longer their responsibility to pay for public education. If your taxes were $100, when the bond passes, your new taxes will be $126.91. This is figured yearly. Wow — $26.91. That’s one meal at one of our finest local eateries. That’s four packs of smokes. That’s two or three lunches during one week. That’s almost one time getting your hair done or almost a manicure or pedicure. That’s 0.073726 cents per day. Even if you live on a fixed income, the increase divided by 365 days, is really a drop in the bucket when deciding to NOT let our house continue to fall into rack and ruin and utter disrepair.

I encourage you to vote YES on April 1st. If not now, when? MPS has no other alternative than to keep coming back time and time and time again asking for you to invest in the future of our community. It is our responsibility to make certain our children are afforded the best possible learning environments. Please don’t continue to let apathy control the outcome. Your vote will make a difference.  

If not now, when?