Support STMA, vote yes on Feb. 7

By Jillian Hendrickson

Guest Columnist

It’s my honor to serve our community once again as the mayor of Albertville. I’m humbled by confidence of Albertville voters who re-elected me in November.

I’m now asking you for your vote again, but not for me. I’m asking you to vote “Yes” in the upcoming STMA bond referendum. It’s the fiscally responsible approach that will improve security at school entrances, update classroom technology that’s about a decade old, and make necessary changes to buildings and facilities to accommodate increased enrollment in the school district.

As a mom with a young family, I want our children to have the best education possible. Investing in youth education is one of the most critical things a community can do to stay vital. An important part of a child’s education includes activities like physical education and team activities. This is not a debatable concept.

As someone who is actively supportive of Republican candidates, I’m pleased the school board found a fiscally conservative approach to addressing the needs in our community. If the bond referendum passes, State Aid will pay for approximately 60% of the bond. Furthermore, delaying these projects (by voting “no”) will only increase the costs to local taxpayers.

Some have made unfair accusations about the motives and actions of the STMA School Board. Let’s be honest. Members of the school board don’t run for office to be tax collectors. They ran for the job because they care about the quality of our local schools. The hard work of school district leaders has been positive for STMA. Recently, the school district received a clean audit from an outside auditor because of the wise decisions made by school board members and the superintendent.

Let’s review some history. The school board commissioned a citizen-led taskforce to examine an umbrella of needs given the 62% enrollment increases since 2005. The members of the task force whittled them down to a list of needs they deemed urgent in order to uphold the district’s standards and remain competitive with neighboring districts.

The school board adopted the taskforce’s recommendations and unanimously voted to place the bond referendum on the ballot for February. This decision wasn’t made to deceive anyone. In fact, it was done for the opposite reason. Given the fact there was little time before the regularly scheduled general election, the school board wanted to make sure there was enough time for the public to understand what was at stake, instead of rushing to put a measure on the ballot. I commend the school board for doing exactly what they were elected to do! Those suggesting school board members had devious motives are wrong.

When I was door knocking during my re-election campaign, the number one reason people told me why they’ve made the decision to live in our community is because of the schools and the competent leadership of the school district. Our school district enhances the quality of life for everyone in our community.

By approving the school district’s request to make some modest, but critical improvements, we can move forward in a fiscally responsible way to address the needs of the families of our growing community.

Vote Yes for STMA Feb. 7 — or vote early! Learn more at www.voteyesforstma.org!

Jillian Hendrickson is Mayor of Albertville.