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In 1928, the landmark Tell City High School building was constructed. In 1935 one block away from TCHS I was born. I will soon be 75 and I could not be as healthy as I am without care; care at home, care by a wife and family and care from the community.
Our Tell City High School building is 81 years old and although it is structurally sound, its care in the form of renovations and updates has been sadly lacking. Recently, citizens in the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp. area were given the opportunity to finish what over three summers has been started: the carefully planned and nicely carried-out renovation process at the school.
There was a time when this whole community, including the school system, had a priority to be the very best. We now have reached a new low, in that we are satisfied with mediocrity. Where is our pride? Where is the drive in our community to be the best again? Where is our desire to do all we can to give the best to our children and our children's children?
Regarding the school system, the Tell City-Troy Township School Board has strived to give our students the best administrative staff available. The janitorial and maintenance personnel are top flight and our teaching staffs do an amazingly great job educating our students, as we compare with the rest of the state.
Yet, we as a community find it unimportant to provide the best classrooms, handicapped facilities, heating and air conditioning services and other ancillary facilities possible.
After a lost remonstrance a few years ago, the Tell City-Troy Township "lame duck" School Board, along with Superintendent Ron Etienne, one of the most respected superintendents in Indiana, had elected to undertake an aggressive approach to renovating the high-school building by acquiring interest-free loans. Relatively few people noticed or cared.
Few bothered to take a tour to see the improvements. As a board we gave the community the opportunity and the wherewithal to finish the job at less than $10 million, an amazingly small amount of money for any school construction project. This would have been finished for the most part with interest-free monies. And you, the public, flatly said "no."
Apathy is the cause, mediocrity is the result. The turndown of the referendum cost us likely $7 million and another year's wait to attempt to complete the project.
To those of you who chose to vote "no," whom did you help? Yourself? You saved precious few tax dollars, far fewer than you were led to believe. Who were the losers from your vote? The entire community and its children. It seems it would be worth a little sacrifice to be able to point with pride to better school buildings and the products of the educated young people going into the world each year.
Would it not be a benefit to all if the school system attracted new people to move in? Would it not be great to perhaps entice new businesses to move in?
I have always been proud of my education in the Tell City system and of the fact I was able to come back home to live and work.
My family and I have worked hard to support the Tell City-Troy Township School system in every way possible. I have been especially proud to be on this school board that continued, through a labor of love, to improve our facilities in spite of the resistance against it, which I have never understood.
I have heard there is no one to blame. I don't believe that for one minute. There are people on both sides to blame.
All of those who "were going to vote for the renovations, but didn't have time" or "couldn't get there" or "forgot" or who would not fill out an absentee ballot, etc. were just as responsible for the failure of the project as the cowards who urged defeating the project by sending anonymous cards with twisted facts; who never outwardly attended a meeting to question the project or to be informed properly; who never discussed person to person with a school board member or administrators the facts of the matter; who never acknowledged the needs of our students and teachers.
I call them cowards because they are ashamed to let people know who they are. One wonders if they ever attended school here, but of course one can only wonder. I will tell you that I will proudly sign this letter and am open to any and all who want to discuss any aspect of this letter. What I did for our school system and especially our community was what I know was the best and only thing to do. I, with an ache in my heart, wonder why we, as a community, choose to be second rate. Still I wonder. Where is the care?