With the Cashion School Bond vote a week away, I thought I would jot a down a few thoughts on it as well as the future of our town. For those of you who don’t know me, my family and I recently moved back to Cashion in 2013 after moving away upon graduating high school here in 1994. Both of my parents' families have been a part of Cashion for many decades and still reside or own property in the community. My wife and I have four children and just recently enrolled our oldest son in the Cashion School district at the beginning of this school year. Our other three children are homeschooled.
I realize the topic of increasing taxes on individuals is a sensitive one. They are a necessity, but how much is too much? How do you balance the wants and needs of the school with perceived or real growth? You review the data, elect trusted board members that represent the community, and hire school leadership that operates the school in a fiscally responsible manner that takes into account the needs of the students and teachers. Are there other options that could be considered? Absolutely. Do I trust that many of those options have been discussed and considered by the leadership and school board? Absolutely!
Growth. I’ve seen some debate on this topic over the past few weeks from both ends of the spectrum.
“Cashion enrollment is growing so we must build”
“Cashion enrollment has not increased much over the past 10 years”
“I don’t want to pass a bond that will take away my small town”
“We don’t need to keep up with the Joneses"
Lean in for a second and I will share a secret with you. Ok, not much of a secret as much as an observation of what is coming. Cashion is on a trajectory of growth for the next several years. What will drive this growth? A few things that I’m aware of, but there might be even more.
The expansion of 74 Highway from N.W. 164th to N.W. 206th. Although I don’t have specifics on timing, this road will eventually be expanded to 4 lanes N. of Waterloo.
Families living in larger districts continue to migrate to districts like Cashion to provide better opportunities for their students. We’ve seen this in the 5 short years we’ve been back in Cashion. Smaller classroom sizes, support of the school from the community and parents, the opportunity to play multiple sports and/or participate in agricultural activities.
The current White House administration’s commitment to Energy independence will continue to foster investment in our two counties.
Fellers Ranch on 74 highway was recently purchased and donated to Peppers Ranch. The long-term plan is to build 40 homes on this 400+ acre property with the children living on the ranch attending Cashion Schools. The short-term plan explained to me is to build 1 to 2 homes every few years.
Cashion Schools has a reputation of excellence. Families looking to relocate from a district like Edmond, Deer Creek or Piedmont see this and are drawn to it. An example of this is our basketball gym. The current gymnasium was built in 1971/72 and is still one of the premiere basketball facilities 46 years later for a school our size. The leadership in the late 60’s and early 70’s had the forethought to build a quality complex that will continue to serve future generations to come.
I currently serve as a Trustee on the Cashion Town Board. We are working to improve our current sewage system through the use of grants and capital improvement funds. We are doing this to prepare for the growth we know is coming, regardless if the school bond passes or fails. We have been approached by multiple neighborhoods regarding annexation into the city limits. This too is being considered and if approved will lead to physical growth. We must stay ahead of the curve and continue to put our town in a position to win.
I voted to pass the 2015 bond though we had no students attending the district at the time. Why? Because the district needed it and our students deserve the best we can afford to provide them. I am supporting the 2018 bond without hesitation. Why? It addresses the long term needs of the district by freeing up space for future classrooms, performing arts facilities, and parking. It provides students participating in cheerleading, wrestling, baseball, football, track, and cross country a safe and well thought area to practice, perform, and compete. It provides our agriculture students a dedicated learning space. It provides our community a space to host events and a place to safely exercise. It will increase my property value. It is costing me pennies on the dollar and yet will benefit my entire family.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. My goal is not to convince you to vote yes, but to provide some insight into my perspective on it. I would encourage everyone to attend the upcoming information meetings as I continue to see misinformation being shared and posted through social media. Please educate yourself and make a decision that is right for you and your family.