My view: why not this bond?


Audrey Whitaker '19, Editor in Chief

On my way to school, lawns are dotted with signs. Some are for Senate, some for the Governor and some simply let other people know they aren’t hated there. These signs have been standing around all summer.

A new sign caught my eye last week, black and red in the middle of an empty lawn.  “NOT THIS BOND” it shouts as I pedal by, backpack strapped to my bike.

The sign is new to me, but the bond isn’t. I didn’t need orange sticky notes to dapple the halls in order to tell me that the roof leaks, the basement floods and the computers are out of date here at South.

The signs confound me for a day.  

I know the budget was mismanaged.

I know the building is old.

I know this bond will mean higher taxes.

I know the people who are telling me they’re voting “no” aren’t students, as a majority of us are not yet 18.

They didn’t walk in at eight this morning to find the hallways lined with spare trash cans and buckets or glance up at the patchy, brown water-stained ceiling tiles. They didn’t dodge puddles on their way to after-school workouts or jump up from a wet chair and shake the rainwater out of an ancient computer lab keyboard.  

They didn’t come to school in September with extra deodorant or a frozen water bottle in their backpack for later when they had to sit with their spinning head in their hands in a sweltering classroom. They didn’t struggle to stay focused while their teacher grappled with outdated and inefficient technology.

Their classroom didn’t move when asbestos was found lining the walls or discreetly stop at the hand sanitizer before returning to their seat because none of the sinks were working, again.

They didn’t help their teacher move the filing cabinet to barricade the door with a faulty lock that swings open during the lockdown drill.

They may not realize that a “no” on this bond may mean district lines may be redrawn, a school may close, and students, especially those with special needs, will lose valuable resources and compete for attention in larger classes.  According to the GPPSS website, the lease or sale of any property wouldn’t even cover the costs of proposed bond projects.

I know that cleaner schools may not solve issues like declining enrollment or debt from the $62 million bond passed in 2002. But why are my peers and I, students and the future of our community, receiving neither support nor initiative to fix the problem from Grosse Pointe voters?

If “not this bond,” then what bond will it be? I have yet to hear another solution that keeps schools open, safe and dry.  Stop selling students short by voting “no”, and advocate for a responsible school board to manage the money responsibly and ensure these sorely needed improvements.

It’s time for our district to get back on track, to come together with taxpayers to serve their students and their community in turn.