Seizing an opportunity to do the right thing
I am writing in support of the proposed tax levy increase for the Gainesville schools and to encourage others to support it with a YES vote.
For most of my 66 years, I have been proud to call Ozark County my home. Even in the 16 years we lived away from here, I never truly thought of any other place in the same way. My roots are here, my family and friends are here, and my heart is here. I choose to live here because I think it is one of the best places in the world.
In Ozark County, we are richly blessed with natural resources such as our streams, forests and lakes. Most people work together to protect those resources, realizing their intrinsic value to all of us as well as visitors to our county.
We are also richly blessed by a population of civic-minded folks who always come together in a positive way when a need arises, and they do BIG things. A few examples are the way we supported Relay for Life through the years, the way we turn out for benefit events when someone suffers a loss, and the way we rally around organizations such as our senior center, our volunteer fire departments, our churches and the Historium. Our people have a simple generosity of spirit that inspires giving and caring and support, and they never fail to do the right thing.
Now we are being offered another opportunity to do the right thing. We are being asked to help fund long-needed, necessary repairs and upgrades to our schools. Why do I support this when I know it is going to cost me more in taxes? Because I believe our young people are our most valuable natural resource!
Kids spend more time in school than anywhere else, except for home. We should do all in our power to make the schools the very best we can. The quality of the education our children receive is definitely impacted by the character and capability of teachers and the condition of the facilities in which they learn; it would be naïve to think otherwise.
Of course, it is possible to “make do” with rudimentary tools, uncomfortable surroundings and inadequate facilities. But if we have a choice, do we really want to just “make do” for our kids? Would we have wanted that for ourselves?
Yes, there’s a price tag on the work that needs to be done. Yes, it will cost something. Anything worth having and/or doing always has a cost attached. The question is, are we willing to pay that cost? Everyone I know spends some money at their own discretion. The choice about how to spend it is ours.
I don’t want ours to be known as the community that doesn’t step up and provide what is best for our children. I don’t want our neighbors in Ozark County, who have already faced this issue with a positive response, to see us as the ones who do not value what is truly important. But mostly, I do not want our children to think they do not matter enough for us to make a sacrifice for them.
Please thoughtfully consider what is really important in life, and make the right choice, to vote YES for the school’s tax levy. What follows will be good for our children, good for our community and good for our future!
Janet Taber, Almartha