NEW JEFF ELEMENTARY-1

Greater Clark County School Corp. Superintendent Andrew Melin has proposed that the old Jeffersonville High School Gymnasium on Court and Meigs should be the location of a new downtown elementary school.

Even in our digital age, we adults put our signatures on a lot of paper, everything from home loans to greeting cards. For registered voters and property owners living in the Greater Clark County Schools district, there’s another document to consider signing.

A petition drive is ongoing to decide if the school district will build a new elementary school on property off Court Avenue in downtown Jeffersonville. The color-coded competition pits yellow, or yes, against blue, or no.

No other decision is being made here.

Not if the chosen location is the one best-suited for the school; the options were considered and — like it or not — that decision already has been made.

Not if the current aged elementary schools — Maple and Spring Hill — can remain open; it won’t happen.

Even your favorite sweater, over time, becomes frayed from repeated wearing. The facilities are worn out. They’ve served their respective school communities well, but they no longer can meet student needs.

The only issue being decided is whether we build a new elementary school at a cost just under $15 million, or we bus students to other schools, Spring Hill to Northaven and Maple to Bridgepoint.

The News and Tribune believes it is in the best interest of all involved — students, teachers, families, and the community at large — to build a new elementary school downtown. Here’s why:

• Busing young students to other schools extends their school day unnecessarily. That’s not conducive to learning — for anybody. It makes for tired pupils — heavy eyes and heavy bodies. It also increases class size, lessens one-on-one teacher time, limits access to learning tools, and weakens students’ identity connection with their school.

• A neighborhood school enables engagement by parents who have limited transportation options, allowing them to attend teacher conferences as well as school events and activities. Family support and involvement is important to the learning process.

• Good schools are good for business. Industry officials looking to locate here will analyze the school system and educational opportunities in their evaluation process. They’ve told us so.

• All our students — no matter where they live in the City of Jeffersonville — should have access to welcoming learning environments and state-of-the-art educational tools.

The newspaper acknowledges the practice of decision-making by petition is flawed. It’s a race for John Henrys that shouldn’t be run. It is, however, the state-sanctioned mechanism at our disposal.

We all win when we invest in the education of our children. People who care about the issue are knocking on doors to gather signatures, which must be turned in to the Clark County Clerk’s office by June 9.

The cost to homeowners is nearly a nickel increase in taxes, to 95 cents from 90 cents per $100 assessed valuation. That means a person who owns a $100,000 house would pay $50 more a year, or $950 in taxes, a 5.6 percent increase. Breaking it down, the increase amounts to less than $4 a month, not even 14 cents a day.

Greater Clark’s calculations are even lower, showing a maximum annual tax increase of $16.24 on a $100,000 house. But that’s based on net valuation after multiple deductions, including homestead and mortgage deductions, and not everyone qualifies or files for those.

Either way, it’s a small price to pay with a big return on our investment.

There are 550 reasons to support building a new school. That’s how many kids can attend.

— The News and Tribune editorial board is comprised of Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, Assistant Editor Chris Morris, Assistant Editor Jason Thomas and Digital Editor Elizabeth DePompei.

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