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2018-05-16 / Columnists


It might have been the amount of money, it might have been the destruction of an historical building or it might have been a vote of no confidence in the TAS board and/or administration, but whatever the case, the voters of the Tahquamenon Area Schools district once again defeated a bond proposal of $16.32 million aimed at improving the existing school complex.

As everyone knows, it’s not the building that teaches kids—it’s the quality and board support of the staff that determines the education process at TAS, rather than the newness of a building.

The nay vote was across the board in each township, except for Pentland, which voted 196 yes to 173 no. The total vote was 858 no to 568 yes.

At least the negativity did not carry over to the Headlee Amendment, which passed 841 to 595.

Before the board starts to revamp another bond proposal to improve the building, perhaps the voters could suggest some different plans.

I’ve got several to start the process.

First, fix the roof of the entire building, including the old high school.

Second, shut off the heat and water to the second and third floors of the high school and build partitions to close off the stairways to those levels, leaving a locked door so maintenance can gain entry.

Third, fix the old Middle School rooms to accommodate the high school students.

Fourth, continue using the existing rooms of the first floor of the high school and perhaps even add a before and- after- school latchkey program to one of those unutilized, empty rooms.

Fifth, install solar panels on the entire roof. There must be a grant or two available for establishments like a public school. It could both update technology at the school and cut down the electric bill.

Sixth (and this one is down the road a bit), transform the empty classrooms into apartments. One of the first things new teachers need is a place to live, but the community at large also could use those apartments.

I admit that details such as the school renting out rooms to constituents or businesses is out of the realm of my thoughts, but we’ve got to start thinking of different solutions … maybe purchasing some doublewides in which to teach. When they become obsolete take them to Troop’s and purchase new ones. They would not be as historically significant as the high school, but easier to dispose of when the time came.

All right, there are a few ideas. Any more out there?

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Love this thinking wide.

Love this thinking wide.