LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Auburn vote was a missed opportunity
I consider myself a new resident of DeKalb County (3 years), but because of my job and relationships, I feel I’ve been a part of the Auburn area for more than 20 years. During my short time being an official community member, I was amazed at the energy that was pouring into the county.
Needless to say, this community is on the move. Also on the move is the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, an organization that has a goal to keep the counties and towns in Northeast Indiana vital and growing. In order to do this, our counties and towns have to provide a steady flow of opportunities and quality of life to bring people and businesses to our region. Adding to this is the need to keep our local talent in our home towns.
The goal of the NEIRP is to bring in 1 million residents into the region by 2030. This is not just a nice thing to do, it’s our survival.
In my time here as a resident of DeKalb County, I saw that a proposal was made by the DeKalb Central School District for infrastructure projects and facilities improvements to JR Watson Elementary School, updates to the interior of DeKalb Middle School, boilers at DeKalb High School and on the High School/Middle school campus. As I see it, school district administrators were good stewards in providing these proposals without a tax hike. A referendum was placed on the ballot this past election.
An issue arose that the proposed improvements to the High School/Middle School campus put too much emphasis on sports and band, which are extracurricular activities, and not on classroom education. Based on this belief, it would be a waste of taxpayer’s money.
I can understand this concept if I was not aware of the importance of what extracurricular opportunities add to education and to our community. As time went on, rules have changed, competitions, and tournaments are now being run at schools whose facilities have changed to provide the services needed to compete. More students are able to participate in activities than ever before, including students participating in DeKalb Central Unified Sports/Special Olympics program.
What’s happening now is DeKalb High/Middle School families are going to other school districts and facilities out of our community to participate in these competitions. At times that means overnight stays and dollars spent in other communities filling up the gas tank, dining at restaurants and shopping.
That is why the DHS/DMS proposal made a lot of sense and was right in step with the energy that is being displayed in the community and what is going on with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.
When people move into an area, they look what the school system can offer their children,
and base that on their decision on where to live.
Sad to say, the referendum was not passed. I have to admit that the way it was presented on the ballot could have been confusing if one didn’t go to one the many meetings that were offered or read the details in the paper that explained the proposal.
I wish to thank the DeKalb Central School District administration and the supporters for their efforts to present this proposal to us and for looking out for the future of our community. It’s your insight along with our community leaders that will keep Auburn and DeKalb County on the map.
I know it won’t be long before this proposal will be presented again, and I am hopeful we won’t miss this opportunity again.