Letter to the Editor: Tom Boheman

Several years ago, a local school was shut down. I saw this happen in my hometown when a junior high building closed. My wife’s hometown sends their high school students to another town. People in Ackley are still upset about the closing of the junior high. People in Wellsburg are upset that their kids are graduating from AGWSR, not Wellsburg. Lots of rural Iowa communities are suffering the same fate. As a teacher of G-R, who doesn’t want this to happen to our school, I want to share my thoughts on the bond vote, even if my opinion carries little weight.

I was discussing with a friend who doesn’t live in the district about the bond issue for school improvements. He asked why we needed to pursue such a financial endeavor. I explained that education had changed from when we were in school. We’re trying to teach our 21st-century kids with 20th-century techniques.

He responded, “So you are telling me that you currently aren’t educating your kids in a 20th-century building?”

I replied, “You’re a farmer with an expensive tractor, right? Why don’t you take your tractor to get groceries? Won’t it take you to town as your pickup would? Well, we want to give kids a ‘pickup’ instead of a ‘tractor.'”

Education has changed with things like Project Based Learning, collaborative learning, research-based experimentation, video projects, internships, entrepreneurial experiences, etc. Education goes beyond the classroom. Kids need space to share ideas, construct presentations, and be creative, unencumbered by the constraints of a classroom.

I’m well aware of the economy’s current status, and asking citizens to give money or increase their property taxes is a lot. I’m a teacher. I understand the struggle. My taxes could potentially increase by $200-300 yearly. That’s not chump change, but it’s money I’m more than happy to give to enhance education.

Occasionally, I will run into a friendly former student. Yet, today they view me as being on the “other side” and pass by without speaking to me. It’s heartbreaking as no teacher gets into this for the money. It’s for the kids.

If the bond issue doesn’t pass, that’ll be heart-wrenching. So, I’ll merely ask this: whether you vote yes or no on the bond issue, I hope you vote with the kids in mind. Nobody can tell you how to vote. The important thing is, please vote.

Tom Boheman

Reinbeck, Iowa