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Leonards support school referendum

Vox Pop

Almost 30 years ago Stacy and I moved into this community and made it our home. Here we have raised our family, made many great friends, and have invested our adult lives educating the children of our community. I am writing today, not as a lifelong educator, but rather as a 30 year resident of Medford who cares deeply about the future of the children in our community. In a few days we are faced with a choice on whether to invest in our kids and in our community. We all know the question, “Do we vote yes or no on investing 39.9 million dollars to remodel MASH?” I choose to vote yes.

I choose to vote yes because the referendum, in its current form, will meet the NEEDS of our students and our community for many years into the future. These NEEDS (not “wants”) were identified in a well thought out, comprehensive process that included facility studies, community listening sessions, building tours, (both in person and virtual), mail and online community surveys, cooperation and compromise. It is my hope you participated in this process as the school board actively solicited citizen input regarding the necessary upgrades and concerns. I choose to vote yes because my elected representatives, our Medford School Board, have repeatedly and unanimously voted to support the referendum in its current form.

I choose to vote yes because I am willing to invest my tax dollars in our most precious resource, our children. My own kids are now grown and are no longer in school. However, I will vote yes for all the children in our community. I believe it is my responsibility to vote yes. Medford citizens have demonstrated they share that same value by voting yes in 1976 (building SES), 1987 (building MAES), 2000 (building MAMS), and now is the time for MASH. Other generations of voters have invested in my children, and now it is my turn to do the same for future generations.

I choose to vote yes because I am not willing to settle for the notion, “The high school was good enough for me then so it should be good enough for kids now.” That line of thinking is very frustrating for me. At no point in my adult life has my mindset been of wanting kids in Medford to have things that are just “good enough.” The dream of all parents is for their children to “have it better” than they did. Our world isn’t the same as it was ten, twenty or thirty years ago, and the educational facilities can’t be either. I choose to vote yes to offer the spaces, programming and better opportunities so our children can be safe, healthy, and academically competitive in our changing world.

I have heard, “Now is just not the right time.” I understand where those thoughts come from, as we emerge from the pandemic. We are all uneasy about the future. But, the reality is that out of times of crisis, come great opportunities. The time is now to vote yes on this referendum as interest rates are at or near all time lows. Borrowing money when interest rates are low makes sense. Now is the time to vote yes to maximize our tax dollars, pay less interest, and buy the building materials. Our needs will not go away, but the low interest rates will.

I’ll see you at the polls on April 6th. I will be voting yes for our kids and our community. I hope you will do the same.

— Al Leonard, Medford