Bond referendum offers plenty of positives for students, community
Are you proud to be a Chickasaw? I wasn't born or raised in New Hampton but I do consider myself a proud Chickasaw! Our schools are the forefront of our community and we all need to show our Chickasaw spirit by voting YES for the school bond issue on Feb. 7.The average home in the New Hampton Community School District is assessed at $105,098. Did you know that the school bond vote when approved will only increase the average homeowner's property taxes by $7.33 a month, which is only $87.90 a year? For those with farmland, the average acre of farmland is $2,328.02, which equals an increase of $1.77 in tax per acre per year.I hear all the normal excuses for not supporting the schools and people trying to justify why they are going to vote no.I have heard: “The school was good enough for me, it is good enough for them” or “I don't have kids (or grandkids) in school so why would I pay for school improvements.” Please look at the bigger picture! The way children learn is different than it was 20 years ago and we need to give our local students an environment that supports new and innovative ways to learn. And for those area residents that don't have children or grandchildren in the school, please think about the community as a whole and how our school is so important to our overall success. Another comment I hear is “New Hampton doesn't need a competition gym.” According to an article on CNBC.com written by Mark Koba, youth sports tourism is a $7 billion industry in travel expenses alone! Just in northeast Iowa, you've got thousands of kids in sports and parents spending money at each and every town they visit. Cities across the country are building facilities to host events and chase this huge tourism opportunity. With the New Hampton school building project, a second gym was a necessity based on PE classes and afterschool sports for the middle and high school students. The committee (which consists of 42 community members, students, business owners, farmers, parents and teachers) decided to make the gym a “competition” gym so it will seat 1,200. New Hampton could then host events like youth basketball tournaments or high school playoff games. They can utilize both the new competition gym and the current high school gym to bring people into our town. That is called TOURISM!!! When people visit for a tournament, guess what they spend most of their day doing? They are waiting to watch their kid compete which means they have time to shop, eat at restaurants, fill their car up with gas and SPEND MONEY!!! I attended a third-grade boys basketball tournament last year in Waverly. There were at least 20 teams of 10 kids each. That is 200 families! Figure the average family of plus grandparents, and we have over 1,000 people in town for an event centered around 9-year-olds. We can't, and shouldn't, miss out on those opportunities for our town. Voting yes on Feb. 7 is a testament to the pride we all have for New Hampton. As a member of the Industrial Development Corporation, I know firsthand that we have dozens of local industry leaders that have chosen to live in Waverly because of the beautiful new school buildings their district and voters committed to. These people are also getting their healthcare in Waverly, banking, going to the dentist and shopping there. All these dollars are leaving our community. If this continues, where will New Hampton be in 10 years? I understand this project will be a financial commitment for all tax payers but I assure you that the school improvement committee has found the best way for tax payers to get the best bang for their buck. The project includes classrooms, for students in grades 5-8, a vocational agriculture/industrial technology center, a large group learning area/cafeteria and the competition gym. The old 1913 building will remain for all those historians who see it as a landmark of our community. The committee is trying their absolute best to make as many people as possible happy and I commend each and every one of them for the time, energy and passion they have given to this plan.We have all chosen to call New Hampton home so it is time for all of us to show our Chickasaw Spirit and VOTE YES on Feb. 7!