Forum, March 8: Lebanon School Update a Good Investment

Wednesday, March 07, 2018
School Update a Good Investment

I’m writing to ask my fellow Lebanon residents to vote yes on March 13 for modernizing Lebanon School District’s buildings.

I have three children at Mount Lebanon Elementary School and a fourth who will begin there when my oldest starts at Lebanon Middle School in the fall. Those of us whose children attend or have attended Mount Lebanon School know that the teachers and administrators there are amazing and do so much for the children of our community.

However, the teachers need more from us than our praise.

The principal often must vacate her office and sit in the library or wherever else she can find room in order to provide needed classroom space. Children often eat lukewarm or cold meals, of which there sometimes aren’t enough available, because the school doesn’t have a full-function kitchen. The cafeteria often doubles as the gym and then triples as the school performance space. It isn’t really large enough for any of those purposes. The teachers are dedicated and creative, but they can only do so much when the facilities themselves have become a major educational barrier.

I realize that it’s important to be aware of what this plan will cost. I’m not discounting that or trying to sweep it under the carpet. However, there are so many proven reasons why school modernization is a good investment: improved morale and health of the students and teachers, increased academic performance, the retention of quality instructors and an increase in home values, among other things.

We owe it to the next generation to do all that we can to ensure that they have the best chance possible at making something of themselves. Supporting our schools and our children is a way that we can have an actual, positive impact on the future of our town, our state, our nation and our world. For me, at least, that outweighs any other argument.

Morgan Swan

West Lebanon

Vote Yes for Modernization Project

I am the parent of a seventh-grader at Lebanon Middle School and a third-grader at Hanover Street School, and I am a Lebanon taxpayer. I support the school modernization plan.

Building an auditorium at Lebanon High School is a valuable part of this plan. My son is a member of the middle school band and looks forward to continuing music throughout high school. The auditorium and new performing arts classroom space will improve and enhance Lebanon High School.

Although the Lebanon Opera House has generously welcomed LHS performances and events for many years, having a auditorium will enhance student experiences throughout our district. An auditorium will provide important community gathering space for high school students and for the entire district. In addition to providing a venue for performing arts, the auditorium will be a place for assemblies, celebrations and other events, as well as for academic purposes.

Beyond the auditorium, the plan includes critical building improvements for Hanover Street School, Mount Lebanon School and Lebanon High School, especially the addition of entrances designed for student safety. I strongly support voting yes on Article 2 on March 13.

Laura Braunstein


Lebanon Meeting Changed My Mind

The article in the Valley News about the Lebanon school proposal, with its significant construction costs, including an expensive auditorium, caught my attention (“Lebanon Schools Proposal Set,” Feb. 4). My thought was that, continuing a relationship with the Lebanon Opera House was a win-win, and this expense seemed excessive.

So, I figured I should attend the last public meeting that included an overview of the proposal.

The presentation was well done. The information seemed objective and not a political spin. I was impressed by a number of the people who spoke. It seemed like a clear split between those in support of the proposal and those with deep reservations. Both sides had valid points in support and valid concerns. All were civil and respectful of each other and of School Board members. Board members have clearly struggled with the desire to hold the line on a tax increase. Theirs is a thankless job that requires tremendous dedication.

By the end of the meeting I was left with the clear awareness that the schools have a substantial overcrowding issue for staff, students and storage. The modifications to the parking, drop-off and entry areas would make significant improvements in safety that would be felt on a daily basis.

Finally, the auditorium issue. The school and the Lebanon Opera House have worked cooperatively for some time. It turns out that the needs of both organizations outweigh the capacity now. A gentleman at the meeting reported that the new auditorium at Mascoma Valley Regional High School has become a significant hub for that community. I hadn’t thought of that viewpoint. It is my own belief that the most fundamental issue in our world today is the ability to work together to solve problems. This requires the ability to better understand and communicate with one another, and to have tolerance and respect for others’ viewpoints. They are current values reflected in the mission statement of the Lebanon schools. I believe education and building community are the two most precious tools that we can use to accomplish this. I will be voting in favor of the Lebanon school proposal.

William Cioffredi


Emphasis on ‘Well Regulated’

We should require a license to own a firearm and all firearms should be registered. To acquire a license, one should take a gun safety course and pass a background check. Assault rifles should no longer be sold, and there should be a generous voluntary buyback program for assault rifles and all firearms. These are reasonable measures and should be in the conversation. Interpretations of the Second Amendment may vary with time and person, but the amendment does contain the phrase “well regulated.” No one could responsibly claim that anything related to firearms is “well regulated” now.

Jack McKenna


Male-Dominated Culture Killing Us

In Willem Lange’s Feb. 21 column headlined “The Good-Guy-Bad-Guy Fantasy Is Killing Us,” he says he returns “ineluctably to the notion of culture as the determinant in violence.”

He is definitely on the right track here, but he needs to go one step further and call it out as the male-dominated culture that is killing us.

Julie Tibbetts

New London

Arm the Teachers, Then Blame Them

The National Rifle Association and others who say the solution to gun violence in the schools is to arm the teachers have come up with a brilliant idea. They would then be able to blame the teachers for not shooting straight enough or fast enough after an incident, rather than the easy access to guns.

Fred Lappin


Where Did My America Go?

The tragedies of these mass shootings, especially school shootings, is beyond comprehension for someone my age. Sorry, but I blame technology, killing “games” and a lack of discipline in our children. No national anthem, no Pledge of Allegiance? Where did my America go, the one I joined the service for? And as for school security, I hear safety barriers and more cameras? Really, what a joke. Want to watch later?

Have mentors in place in schools. Hire a jobless veteran, someone already trained to defend and not hide outside. I would volunteer, as many would, to protect our children. And it would cost you nothing.

Duane McKinney