I believe that the character of a community can be found in the selfless choices it makes now on behalf the generations to come.
One of the reasons many people tell me they like living in U City is the strong character of the community – the diversity of our residents, the vibrancy of civic and commercial life, and the flavor added by the architecture of many of our buildings, including this one.
Our ancestors made choices in the layout of our streets and neighborhoods that today make U City a livable, walkable, appealing place to call home.
The Proposition U bond issue is a call to voters to make choices that have impact today and for the future. This no-tax-increase bond issue includes a number of projects to invest in and protect our older buildings and to create an environment for students who will need different skills in the future.
The bond issue includes a new library at the high school and science lab at the middle school to deliver on the promise of curriculum built around science, technology, engineering and math. The library today’s students need must be built around technology and collaboration and that’s what the bond issue will deliver. It includes a better environment for music and arts that are so essential to building creativity in our children.
The School District has proved it manages its resources carefully. It delivered projects on time and on budget from the last bond issue. But as U City homeowners know, aging buildings require continual care to maintain, so Proposition U will fix roofs, stairwells, doors, lockers, windows and HVAC systems on buildings, many of which were built between 1913 and 1933.
We are fortunate to have a natatorium so the community has a place to swim in the winter. With Proposition U the School District will make an investment in the continued operation of the facility for the community.
The current operating tax rate is at the middle of county school districts. Bond rates are low so the time is right. And again, the bond issue will not increase tax rates.
Proposition U will make our schools safer and more accessible, improving ADA accessibility in several buildings such as installing an elevator at Brittany Woods, and making athletic facilities safer in the High School.
Finally and most importantly, Proposition U will enable the continued improvement of our schools. The high school is rated A+, one of only 38 schools in Missouri to receive such designation last year. It is fully accredited, one of the few districts with a relatively high population receiving free and reduced lunches that achieved such a distinction. It continues to refine its curriculum and expand the programs available to students who are thinking about their futures in college and careers.
The schools are not perfect - nor is the city. But one thing they are is interdependent – and they should support each other. If you are committed to preserving the character of U City for the next generation I urge you to support Proposition U.
It is easy to decide to support a bond issue when your children are in the school, so I’d like to direct my final thoughts to the people like me who no longer have children at home, or who do not attend U City schools.
My children went all the way through U City schools and are now on their own, productive adults flourishing with the foundation they received in our schools, thanks to the foresight of the citizens of U City who supported the schools long before we moved here nearly 30 years ago.
My vote for Proposition U will not directly affect my family, but it will affect the generations to come. We plant trees to provide shade for our grandchildren.
The trees that need planting today include infrastructure improvements and building updates. The shade they will provide includes a better, safer, healthier and more stimulating educational environment for today’s children and tomorrow’s.
I urge the citizens of U City to vote for Proposition U in April. A vote for the bond issue now is an investment in the leaders of our community in the future.
Rep. Rory Ellinger,
86th District, Missouri House of Representatives
University City MO