Ely School Referendum – What do you think – What Questions do you have?

A major referendum for the Ely School System will soon be put to a vote, what do you think and what questions do you have that need to be answered before you can make an informed decision?

3 comments to Ely School Referendum – What do you think – What Questions do you have?

  • Dr. Buzz!

    The Buzz received the following email this morning about the complexity of the various school issues in this area:

    Good morning Dr. Buzz. I hope things are well with you and Betsy this morning. The Ely Timberjay is full of school problems in Ely, Babbitt, and Tower-Soudan. Tower and Babbitt are battling over what do they call the new school mascot. In Ely they are fighting for their lives. I don’t know if the referendum will pass or not, and even if it does, it won’t guarantee the district’s survival. There is enough students for one school, but everyone wants to keep their own schools, but I doubt that three or even two schools can survive. It is one of those passionate subjects that people have problems seeing just how complicated things are.

  • Iron Mike Hillman

    17 March 2011. Desperate Times at Memorial High;

    This March 29 the people living in the greater Ely area will be going to the polls to decide on a three point two million dollar referendum to update the heating system for the Ely School Complex. While no one doubts that the heating system for our schools needs an upgrade, there are serious questions about the current system that the school board would like to install to replace the outdated heating system that is now starting to fail on a regular basis. Judging by some of the emails in the local papers, some referendum supporters would like people to believe this election is a do or die issue for the Ely Schools, and that if this referendum fails we will close the Ely Schools and next year buses will be hauling kids off to Babbitt to go to school. This just isn’t the case. A few years back the people of Ely said no to a previous referendum asking for over three times the amount of this year’s referendum.

    I have been talking to a lot of people in the area who work with things like heating systems, and from what these people are telling me the price tag for the proposed new system is still to high. There are a few people close to the issue who have questioned the wisdom of installing this system which will eventually include several other community entities like the hospital and City of Ely Buildings. The system will only prove to be cost effective if everyone joins in the venture. So what happens to our schools if the other entities back out of the venture? While no one knows exactly what will happen to the price of propane into the future, everyone does agree that the costs for fossil fuels are going to keep going up as we keep using up the supply.
    When asked what would happen to the Ely Schools if the people voted no I was told that they would pay the twenty five thousand dollars to fix the current leak in the heating system, and that next fall the Ely Schools will be open for another year. I hope that eventually the school board will go back to the drawing board and come up with a system that is a little greener and a little less expensive. We can do better on the price for the heating system and put the extra money into rewiring the schools so that we can upgrade the computer services to help our students keep up the fast changing demands of new technology.

  • Mike Hillman

    School Referendum Passes by 904 to 411. You bet we got Heat! Like many Elyites, I made my way up to the library of Washington Elementary School to cast my vote in yesterday’s school referendum. We needed to decide whether or not to replace the almost ninety year old system that was no longer able to do the job. Everyone knew the heating system had seen better days, but three point four million dollars is a lot of money, and no one viewed the vote as a sure thing.

    With the St. Louis County School System closing schools in places like Tower-Soudan, many people in Ely felt that installing a new heating system in our schools was a do or die issue. Many Elyites felt that if we didn’t pass the three point four million dollars referendum, we would soon be busing our Timber Wolves of to Babbitt. The local papers featured a few letters questioning whether or not the proposed heating system was the right one to install in our school, but the majority of letters in our papers were in favor of going with the new heating system. That sentiment was reflected by the vote which was over two to one in favor of the referendum. By a vote of 904 to 411, the people decided to support the referendum, and Ely will go forward with the new boiler system.

    These are difficult time for schools all over the nation, and we are no exception. I know this will not solve all the problems faced by the Ely School System, but when I woke up and heard the news that there would be a reliable heating system in the Ely Schools, I felt like walking down to Vermilion Community College and ring the big brass bell from the original Ely High School back in 1905. The public schools are the best hope of the nation. Those are the words written on the side of the bell. At least for now there is hope here in Ely that Independent School District 696 will continue to educate our children at least for now.

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