A column in the Nov. 19 issue of the Monitor by Alan Marchione “MUSD underestimated voter intelligence” relished the defeat of the bond vote. Actually, the school district underestimated the effort needed to overcome voters being influenced by folks such as Mr. Marchione, who has historically been opposed to taxes. He opposed the 2016 MUSD override vote, he opposed the vote on Proposition 416/417. And, of course, he voiced his recommendation to vote “no” in the bond issue.
Mr. Marchione has a negative view of raising taxes to benefit the community, yet what he apparently does not have is experience in a suburb dealing with rapid population growth. Rather than preach theory, allow me to provide my personal experience in a suburban community facing student population acceleration.
In 1983, I joined the faculty of Walton H.S. in Cobb County, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta that was experiencing rapid population growth. Walton had been opened a few years earlier to deal with growing student population, and soon was overcrowded. A new school, Lassiter H.S., was opened, yet by 1985 both Walton and Lassiter were strained by arriving students.
I observed consequences of overcrowded schools. More classrooms were desperately needed, so the district brought in trailers. I taught a first period class in a trailer where the heat available did not compensate for the chill of the Georgia winter. Learning math was difficult as students sat in their winter coats, many wearing gloves, trying to deal with the cold.
The cafeteria could not feed all the students during the lunch periods, so some students had lunch starting at 10:30 a.m. Towards the end of the school day these students were hungry which meant their ability to learn was diminished. The overcrowded school meant crowds trying to get to their next class. One day, I had to wade through a bevy of students to break up a fight between two males who objected to the other bumping into him.
In 1987, Pope H.S. was opened to deal with the overcrowding, and I was a charter member of the Pope faculty. As soon as Pope opened it needed an additional wing. To save taxpayer money the district cut back on funds for classroom equipment, which caused there to be no overhead projectors, a vital tool for many teachers.
To save even more money, Pope soccer and football teams were to share the Lassiter stadium. I was the varsity girls’ soccer coach. We arrived for a home game to discover the soccer goals were missing and had been locked up by the Lassiter boys’ coach. Had we not “rescued” the goals we would have had to forfeit the game, a game we won 10 – 0.
Mr. Marchione, saving on taxes by shortchanging schools can have serious consequences.