Take the Long View
In Zoom meetings regarding the upcoming referendum on the Madison School Renewal Plan, I sometimes think people look at my aging face with “The senior vote is going to be a big problem” passing through their minds. I don’t believe that is at all true. Seniors can’t recall where we last put our glasses, but memories of the schools that became the bedrock of our lives are crystal clear.
I arrived at Longfellow Elementary School in Spokane, Washington in 1956. The first Longfellow was built in 1896, but the new building I walked into was already the third iteration of the school. On a visit to my mother in the late 1980s, I was not surprised when she drove me up for a look at yet another “new” Longfellow.
Schools have “sell by” dates. Generations of Spokane taxpayers knew that, took a deep breath, and voted to pay for all those Longfellows. The Madison School Renewal Plan has been carefully thought out over a period of many years. I believe it is the best combination of minimizing cost for maximizing school facilities that we can come up with. The choice is clear: consolidate and build fresh or pay heavy maintenance costs year after year to patch up two schools that are old and outdated by any measure.
Madison’s median household income is 45 percent above the state average. Our median home value is 56 percent above the state average. That should be no surprise, since 65 percent of our residents have a four-year college degree or more. Our generation has benefited tremendously from investments in education by generations past. I encourage your readers to take the long view and vote Feb. 15 to approve funding for the Madison School Renewal Plan.