The careers of Circle alumni are fascinating. Around the world are soldiers, welders, doctors, engineers, movie producers, farmers, auto technicians, fire fighters, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, musicians, accountants, pastors, scientists, writers, nurses and truck drivers who once walked the halls of the schools in our district. In our communities, Circle graduates are neighbors, friends, colleagues and mentors. In our homes they are fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, sisters and brothers.
There is a reason Circle USD 375 achieves greatness. The Circle district has always been about people. ‘What’s best for kids?’ ‘How can we improve the effectiveness of our teachers?’ ‘How can we impact our community and world?’ I spent my entire 34 year career teaching and coaching in this district. I had opportunities to go elsewhere. Why would I? My daughters owe much of their current success in life to the educational foundation provided here and to the teachers and coaches who touched their lives. My oldest daughter, Amber, is a teacher herself; my youngest, Tara, is a CPA who works in an accounting firm in Wichita.
As people in Circle USD 375 consider their mail-in votes for the upcoming bond issue, it is easy to focus on taxes, mill levies, costs and money. All of those things are important, no doubt, especially in a tight economy. However, our most critical focus MUST remain on the people - on our students, teachers, parents and community members.
Sure, great teachers can teach effectively in nearly any environment and a few students can learn in cold and uncomfortable situations. However, the teaching/learning process involves so many variables that adverse external conditions do have a negative effect in many of our current classrooms. Neither teachers nor students need distracting and uncomfortable settings affecting their physical, emotional and intellectual focus. Teachers face more pressure each year as new programs, standards and curricula are added to increasing student achievement goals. Students feel the pressure of the modern high stakes educational world as well. Don’t believe that? Ask them.
Most people today take care of their vehicles in an attempt to make them last as long as possible. Even with the proper maintenance and repair, at some point it is no longer cost effective, or safe, to keep pouring money into an older vehicle. Appliances are the same way. Our district has done a great job of maintaining the facilities in our district. We have built new buildings and updated others, including parts of the high school. But we have reached the point with much of the high school building where continued maintenance and Band-Aid repairs are no longer cost effective, and in some situations, no longer safe.
The time has come for our district to put our focus back on the people this decision affects. Your vote affects the future of our communities, country and world. Your ‘Yes’ vote might just be the difference in the lives of several students. The future doctor or firefighter you help inspire just might one day save your life. Thank you for considering this important issue.
Page 2 of 2 - For more information about this month’s mail-in election, visit www.375.org or see the “Building for Tomorrow USD 375” page on Facebook.
- Davis Laughlin, retired Circle science teacher