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Letters to the Editor

The Sergeant Bluff-Luton School District is seeking approval of a bond issue to replace its primary building, which has surpassed 60 years in age - the oldest building in the district.

Meanwhile, college students will return to Harvard, Yale and William and Mary College where these attendees will find buildings erected in 1718 that are proudly maintained as a part of these highly esteemed institutions. One might wonder how important buildings are compared with that which goes on within them when it comes to quality education.

Taxpayers might well question the wisdom of spending tens of millions of dollars to erect shiny new buildings with elaborate activity fields which are used for less than half of each year for full-time instructional purposes. How elaborate must schools be to house students for six hours a day, five days a week, with summers off?

The best schools contain kids whose parents are involved in their learning experiences and those experiences are enhanced by effective, devoted educators. With these ingredients, even 300-year-old rooms can still be very effective in allowing students to acquire a quality education.

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The birth rate in the U.S. has plummeted to the lowest level in the past half-century, so fewer children are going to be attending our schools. Meanwhile, excellent educational programs are readily available for all ages of students via the internet. One's "classroom" can be the kitchen table at home, for which no additional property tax levy will be assessed.

Taxpayers are well-advised to question whether thousands of dollars in property tax obligations over a 20-year period is a better investment than that same amount contributed to a college fund for one's kids or a retirement benefit for oneself.

The return on investment for acquiring new public buildings is extremely low. Lon Zimmerman, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa

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