It’s time to address Proposition S


Hannah Hoffmann

A "Proposed Facility Projects" board can be found at every school, yet there are plenty of students who still do not know what it is.

Seen that new sign up in front of the school? The “Yes to S” stickers? Even with all the publicity, students are completely blind to the bond issue that will hit Parkway in less than a month now.

On Nov. 4, the ballot to decide if Parkway will receive the funding for $93 million in renovations and improvements to every single district building will be opened to voters. The sad thing? Even if Proposition S is passed, most students still won’t have a clue. Proposition S is just one part of the looming idea that too many Parkway students have never given a second thought to any debate or problem outside of what is directly impacting them every day.

Standing for school, safety, and students, off-duty teachers and various parents have all taken stances on Proposition S. The majority of those promoting the ballot have aimed for the approval of S and with this support, it’s likely that it will get passed.

West High would receive over $1 million from Proposition S. West Middle, however, triples that at over $3 million. Both of these are dwarfed by North High, which would receive over $25 million.

The renovations and improvements listed ranged from the fix of roads and parking lots on school grounds, additional safety measures, updates to aged science classrooms, heating and cooling fixes, etc.

But how did a bond issue that dealt with $93 million move right on over to the ballot without any questions, comments or even a simple reaction from students?

Tuesday was the day that I found myself interviewing students around the school on S. I didn’t get very far. The reactions I got? They ranged from “What’s Proposition S?” to just a flat out “Huh?” I gave them a brief over everything—the resources, the reasons and the renovations—before I could even start the interviews. On the other hand, when I mentioned it would fix some of West’s heating and cooling issues, students were quick to react; the odd temperatures of some classrooms was a problem that was directly placed in front of them every day.

Proposition S, to be passed, would require every district resident to pay $62 more in taxes yearly, or about $5per month. This could end up being an issue for some residents, but students wouldn’t know this. It’s a chain; if you aren’t aware of any issues except for the ones that directly impact you, you’ll miss the smaller problems and impacts that branch off of it, some of which may even come to hurt you.

It’s not that students aren’t aware of what’s happening around them; there isn’t a student at West who couldn’t recite at least one recent event they heard about recently. It’s that students could really benefit from spending just a little more time to educate themselves on what they’re seeing and hearing in all the propaganda and promotion around them.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case with everyone. There are students that educate themselves on issues like S fairly regularly, and I applaud them for taking that little bit of time to do so. As for the rest of you, it wouldn’t hurt to know what “Proposition S” really means when you hear it come up.

If students can’t vote, why should they care? A four-sevenths, or about 60%, majority is required to have S passed, and students under the age of 18 can’t directly vote to change the outcome of the ballot. Some may say they’ll deal with anything even remotely political when the time comes. I doubt you’ll feel the same if you step up to that ballot when you’re 18 and can only vote based on recent information that didn’t give you the full picture. You wouldn’t have any past examples, wouldn’t know the outcomes and impacts of any similar ballots.

Proposition S is certainly receiving its fair share of publicity with fliers, business cards, stickers, and more.
Proposition S is certainly receiving its fair share of publicity with fliers, business cards, stickers, and more.

Would you know, for instance, that there is a bond issue like this every 4 to 5 years? That the last was in 2008? That the bond issue promised smaller class sizes, but those smaller sizes only stuck around for a year before budget cuts ended up cramming even more students than before into oversized classes? Information like this can only be gained by spending some time to learn about what you’re hearing, and could change the votes of you and others.

And I’ll leave you on the fact that there is a good chance this may change. Campaigns for S are picking up, and with that, there’s more ways that students can really notice the Proposition and maybe, just maybe, stop and learn a bit more about some of those bigger issues around them.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.