Rockford schools serve well, need help

To the Editor:

I had the pleasure of serving on the Rockford Area School Board for 13 years, acting in the capacities of Director, Clerk, Treasurer, and Board Chair.

During that time I received more than 400 hours of training on everything from policy formation, conflict resolution, collective bargaining, finance, and the list goes on.

The present School Board of Rockford Area Schools, after studying the buildings and facilities, are coming to the communities asking that you vote up or down to improve the buildings. This group of elected citizens I consider experts in their area of governance and know they wouldn’t consider asking the public to fund such a request unless it was truly necessary.

The School District needs funds to maintain the buildings and make sure they are safe, operate efficiently and effectively. These include items such as upgrading heating plants that are beyond their serviceable life, major roof/ventilation improvements, and upgrading fire safety systems to name a few. Funding for this maintenance has not been sufficiently provided for by the state. It’s the responsibility of the School Board to ask the citizens to help. Unlike City, County and State government which can vote and assess the public for such maintenance, School Boards must ask the public to vote on the bond which will allow them to do maintenance and repairs

Additionally, many of our co-curricular facilities such as the running track are no longer safe to compete on (we haven’t hosted a track meet in 3 years) and others areas such as baseball, softball, and soccer need renovations to be competitive with our neighboring districts.

In summary, Rockford Area Schools serves each and every child in our district to the best of their ability. There are many opportunities for students to participate in activities. The district has more college-in-the- school classes offered than any of the neighboring districts, and two highly successful magnet school programs (one in arts and one in science technology, engineering and math [STEM]), and it brought back vocational educational training and enhanced their math/science graduation requirements.

Rockford Area Schools has excellent educational programs, but our facilities need help!

Gordy Thomas