By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
Voters have already been turning out in large numbers to have their voices heard in advance of the school bond election, and Tuesday voters will be able to cast their ballots for the final time.
There is little more that can be said or done to explain the proposal or how it will be funded.
There is one item we need to discuss, and that is what will happen Wednesday.
Pass or fail, Liberal will still be one community Wednesday morning, and pass or fail, there will still be much work to be done.
If the bond does not pass, there will be no surprise when taxes are raised to deal with the overcrowding. There is no need to say, “They did it anyway.” There won’t be new schools or a real plan for the future, but money will be spent to create more temporary solutions at taxpayers expense, and that process will begin Wednesday should the bond not succeed.
If I don’t say it publicly, there will be those who thought they were voting to avoid a tax increase when that simply is not possible.
That is if the bond fails.
If the bond passes, what happens Wednesday?
There will still be a lot of work to do.
The district will have to respond to what the voters say and follow through with the construction of the schools in a responsible and timely manner.
There are many in the community that have supported the initiative, myself included, and the reason is because the district opened the doors to listen to all of us.
I was in the room saying yes to some ideas, no to others, and having some of my ideas shot down as well.
But we all had a chance to form this plan, and the district will have a direction, but more importantly a process.
I have never been involved with a group as wide open and transparent about this plan. The closest would be the 1-cent sales tax, but even that is more of sharing community desires with the city commission. In the end, the commission determines the priorities.
That is not the case here. The bond questions holds the district accountable to build what we said to build.
Should the bond pass, we here at the Leader & Times will continue to make sure that the door stays open on the progress of the expansion, and that you can find out what is going on as it happens with regular updates as well as an addition to our web site dedicated to the project until it is completed.
More importantly, when we all wake up Wednesday, we will know what kind of community we will be for decades to come, and we will have to accept whatever that means.
If it means we reject public input in government by refusing an initiative driven by citizens, that is what it means. If it means we listen and trust each other and the work of the people to develop a road map to the future, then that’s what it means.