When did we start to pick and choose which students we support?
Any negative feedback I’ve seen regarding the upcoming Imlay City Schools bond proposal has not been based upon any type of factual data, but rather a mindset based on personal bias. Furthermore, it is not a bias based on inclusion, but instead on exclusion. When did we take on the responsibility and arrogance to decide “I don’t think those students need that?”
While they may not be the first subjects you think of personally, today’s school programs include areas of study which have now become strong components of a well-rounded curriculum. These are not small clubs or fringe groups, but viable paths to gain access to higher education and good careers.
The Imlay City School bond proposal addresses an expansion of the STEM program, including maker spaces and lab areas. STEM programs include science, technology, engineering and math. These are the hands-on programs that can lead to careers in a wide variety of industries ranging from robotics, automotive, military, aerospace, manufacturing and much more. The struggle to stay current on the technological needs of programs such as these takes money – as addressed by the bond proposal.
Our Performing Arts programs reach the largest student body in our district, ranging from 5th-12th grade. Scientific studies consistently show that students who participate in music courses score significantly better on math, science and English exams than their non-musical peers – including higher SAT scores in all areas. Music students tend to possess qualities and skills considered essential to employers in business, education and service organizations. Despite all this, some people feel that our performing arts students don’t deserve a Performing Arts Center.
Why wouldn’t we support this large portion of our student population?! Having a proper performance venue for the band, choir and drama programs is no more a luxury than having proper courts and fields for our sports teams. Would we ask the football team to play in the gymnasium? Would we ask the basketball teams to play in the cafeteria? Absolutely not—that would be ridiculous! Yet, this is exactly what we ask the bands, choir and drama programs to do.
Make no mistake, the Performing Arts Center is a multi-use space. In addition to multiple performances throughout the year by the bands, choirs and drama programs of both the High School and the Middle School, the venue would be used for awards ceremonies, convocations, National Honor Society, Athletic Awards Ceremonies (all sports), talent shows, quiz bowl, dance and cheer competitions, community symphonies, presentations, community meetings, board events, local non-profit groups, and much more.
We have an extremely rare opportunity to keep growing our district to become an even more viable, sustainable institution that we can continue be proud of, without asking for an increase in tax. By voting ‘yes,’ you can drastically improve the quality of your schools, your community, and your own property values – at the same price you pay now!
Advocating for a “no vote” on this proposal is not only short-sighted, but also failing to uphold a responsibility to support the community in the same way that community leaders and planners have done for generations. It has been their support, in conjunction with the district’s many years of forward planning, strategic budgeting and careful spending have brought us to this unique opportunity, where we can address the needs of all students with no tax rate increase.
Let’s support all our students, rather than deciding which programs we support and which we deem unworthy.
I support the Imlay City Schools Bond Proposal and urge you to vote ‘yes’ to support all Imlay City students!
— Dan Wimpari,