In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to visit all of the schools in the Florence One Schools district. Despite seeing dedicated teachers, many innovative programs and students who want to learn, I have also seen many physical problems.

Florence’s citizens really need to vote yes on the Feb. 26 referendum. There are many reasons to pass it. With this bond, we can build four new schools to replace badly dilapidated buildings, renovate all three high schools and touch every school in the district with needed repairs.

It will allow for vast improvements in school security, additional classrooms for growth that will also replace all mobile units and create new multi-use athletic facilities, too.

Many of our citizens do not know that our old “pay-as-you-go” plan was only able to replace worn-out facilities at a very, very slow pace and robbed the district of the monies needed for annual repairs and updates, such as HVAC or broken windows and plumbing and better security. If we pass this referendum on Feb. 26, the monies annually allowed to “pay as you go” will be available to be used for staying up to date with ongoing repair and security concerns.

Our goal is to create a school system that will attract new business and to elevate outcomes for all students equally. We deserve for Florence One Schools to be highly competitive and give our students access to STEM and technology to succeed.

The monies needed for this bond are not unreasonable and will be shared by all citizens – both property owners and renters. Those with more expensive homes/property will be asked to pay more than those who own less expensive homes or rent. No one will see an increase until 2021, and they will be equitable. I would urge all to become educated voters by visiting the student-created website, florencestudentsfirst.com, for more details on plans and taxes. Become an informed voter and then support our students, our teachers and our future.

JUDITH KAMMER

Florence