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Lincoln Daily News
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CEL renovation -- the chicken or the egg

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To the editor:

The age-old question of the chicken or the egg is a good analogy of this CEL renovation regarding taxes, property values, housing demands, etc. Not which came first, but which to go after first.

Illinois is NOT a school voucher state, meaning school choice is dependent upon your child's residence (or means for a private education). No matter how much you want your child in public school "X," unless you move, you are relegated to that school district [where you live], its facilities, amenities and outcomes.

My kids have been at CEL for many, many years, and until recently, virtually no changes have been made except a wing addition and some technology. Don't misunderstand me; it's always been a community, safe and enjoyable -- but becoming educationally antiquated with old textbooks, etc. and certainly not the security precautions a post-Sandy Hook school should have.

Should we hope property values magically go up and increase tax revenue for facility upgrades? Should we hope Illinois somehow finds money to better fund the schools? Our income taxes went up 66 percent with no more that a lick and a promise to the public schools... Should we buy the school a lottery ticket and give it a 1:130,000,000 chance at some funding?

To date, the plan is usually to hope for the best until a child is out of school and pray he or she is unscathed academically, socially and physically -- and hope they are prepared for high school life.

Ostrich management. We mock the ostrich for burying his head in the sand when they are alarmed at what's happening around them, yet that's exactly what some choose to do with our educational system and local schools.

[to top of second column in this letter]

I, for one, am proud of the proactive approach CEL is taking, even if I won't have a student there next year. Now I'll hope they go through LCHS unscathed.

What's being done at CEL makes sense, improves the school, its technology, facility aesthetics and security. This improves student and teacher attitude, morale, pride, responsiveness to student individual needs, and probably marked improvement in academic performance.

You ask, so what? This is why people with kids select certain school districts, which increases home demands, turns homes for sale quicker, drives up property values, attracts homebuilders selecting potential subdivision locations, which adds to the school revenue cycle far more quickly than the previously mentioned options.

As a side note, getting bitten by a shark is actually more likely than that lottery option: It's 1:11,000,000.

To the naysayers, I add that you should have been one of the 20 or 30 folks from the entire CEL district at the public meetings.

CEL isn't waiting for a magical money egg; they're out funding a proverbial chicken that will lay its own money eggs for another 15 or 20 years.

Rob Hoefs

[Posted March 08, 2013]

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