Marty Lombardi: Our schools need our support; Vote yes on Measure D | TheUnion.com

Marty Lombardi: Our schools need our support; Vote yes on Measure D

Other Voices
Marty Lombardi

We are all stakeholders in public education, regardless of whether or not we have children attending, will attend or have attended our public schools in the past. Schools are without equal in terms of the contribution they make to the economic well-being of a community by helping to develop an educated and informed workforce.

Our Grass Valley School District was formed more than 150 years ago and has some of the oldest school buildings in Nevada County. Currently, the four GVSD campuses (Bell Hill Academy, Scotten, Grass Valley Charter and Lyman Gilmore Middle School) are in dire need of repair and/or upgrades. The reality is that the District's revenue streams were significantly impacted by arguably the deepest recession any of us experienced during our lifetimes. Many of the District's buildings are plagued with leaking roofs, inadequate, ill functioning and/or inefficient heating and cooling systems. All are in need of classroom upgrades and modern telecom systems … the needs are too many to list.

Please keep in mind that according to the California Department of Education, evidence shows that students who attend schools with good environmental conditions can earn test scores that are 5 to 17 percent higher than scores for students in substandard facilities.

The painful lesson we learned from the recent economic downturn is that communities cannot depend solely upon traditional state and federal revenue streams and in the future each must assume more responsibility for their own economic well-being. In the June 5 primary election, we have the opportunity to take a large step in the direction of improved self-sufficiency with regard to the GVSD. I cannot think of a more important investment a community can make than in the education of its youth.

Every school superintendent will attest that one of their greatest challenges is the ability to attract and retain highly qualified teachers. Every school district competes with adjacent districts for the services of the most qualified teachers. I am sure that every decision to join a specific school district is significantly influenced by the candidate's assessment as to how a community supports its school facilities.

Measure D will allow our GVSD students to learn in safe and modern facilities and maintain an environment that facilitates a high level of academic achievement. Its passage will allow GVSD the ability to issue general obligation bonds to fund $18.8 million of much needed capital improvements. Approval of Measure D will ensure that we will continue to have strong public schools in Grass Valley. Please join me in voting YES on Measure D.

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Marty Lombardi lives in Grass Valley.