Two factors of owning our homes or even merely living in a home are important: Maintenance and security. We don't want to wake up in a rainstorm to find water mysteriously coming through the ceiling of a closet. We don't want a home invasion. We protect our living quarters from the elements with timely roof replacements and we protect ourselves with security alarms and sensor lighting. Both roofs and security alarms are only the beginning of what we must do to maintain our homes or businesses.
For Elkhart schools, maintenance and security were uppermost for years. As a teacher, I was never concerned about whether my building was going to have a leaky roof or whether we were safe in the cafeteria or classroom. Everything worked smoothly. All I had to do was consider my students and their learning.
Then came Sept. 11, 2001. Then came the changed in taxing structure and ability to maintain school budget needs, with millions of dollars cut each year. Demands on student and teacher accountability increased as the security demands grew, and then maintenance of buildings took a hit in order to move available funds to the new areas of need.
Now we have reached a point where the money to further secure our buildings to protect our children from the unimaginable horrors some schools across the country have experienced must come from an additional source. We must look, too, to an additional source to protect our school structures from damage that grows costlier each year if we do not manage their maintenance needs now.
Our citizen duty in caring for one of Elkhart's best resources — its schools and its children — is to approve the referendum supporting building maintenance and security. We can do so on May 6.