In a nation that doesn’t seem to find much common ground, we can take some degree of solace in knowing that the importance of education is something we tend to agree on.
Our local students deserve to spend their formative years in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable — an environment that is conducive to learning. That’s why the editorial board of The Post, recognizing the need for improved facilities, endorses Issue 3, which would approve the Athens City School District’s $60.5 million capital improvements levy.
If the issue passes, the building plan calls for the construction of two new pre-K to third-grade schools at the current sites of Morrison-Gordon and East Elementary schools. The Plains Elementary would be completely renovated for grades 4-6, Athens Middle School would be renovated for grades 7-8 and a new high school would be constructed for grades 9-12. Although the plans for the West Elementary facility are uncertain, it would no longer serve as a school.
The new plan would also address the socioeconomic segregation that has long been subject to scrutiny within the district.
We understand the opposition to Issue 3. Frankly, the concerns raised by many local residents are valid. Some Athens County residents are concerned not only about increased property taxes, but they are also questioning whether or not new buildings are the best option for the future of the district. These concerns have been made very clear, and Issue 3 has become an especially divisive one for our community.
But the targeting of student voters with anonymously placed signs warning of higher rent prices ignores the reality of the issue at hand, focusing on penny pinching rather than on educational benefits.
To compare the price of a few cases of beer to the price of rebuilding our area’s schools is downright offensive.
One Post reader, who is a member of the ABC Committee, shared just a few of the problems the schools have faced due to deteriorating facilities. The middle school, he said, was almost unable to open at the beginning of the school year because of a water pump that needed to be replaced. He also noted that several tests have revealed unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide in the air in several Morrison-Gordon Elementary classrooms due to inadequate ventilation .
Ultimately, the longer we put off these renovations, the more it’s likely to cost down the road. By voting to repair and rebuild sooner rather than later, we play our part in securing a better educational outlook for our local students, and, therefore, a better outcome for all of us.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Lauren Fisher, Digital Managing Editor Alex McCann, Assistant Managing Editor Jessica Hill and Creative Director Abby Gordon. Managing Editor Maddie Capron did not participate in these endorsements due to her reporting role during elections. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage and do not represent the newsroom at-large.