The bold headline said it all:
JOPLIN, Mo. — Voters in the Joplin School District on Tuesday approved a $62 million bond issue by less than 1 percent of the required majority, giving the district the funds to rebuild schools that were destroyed in the May 22 tornado.
I must say I had serious doubts whether the thing would pass—it required a four-sevenths majority—and there wasn’t much room to spare, but as Superintendent C. J. Huff said this morning, a win is a win.
Congratulations to Dr. Huff (who has done unbelievably great work since last May 22) and his staff and the Joplin Globe (the paper supported passage) and all those in the community who worked to see this through.
One commenter on the Globe’s Facebook page said this:
I wish more people realized that great schools attract great employers, which attract great wages. This is an investment in your community, not an expense.
“Investment”? Is that how employers see it? Well, yes. Here is a paragraph from an accompanying Globe story:
Susan Adams, human resources director for Able Manufacturing & Assembly in Joplin, and Lori Scott Dreiling, human resources manager at Modine Manufacturing in Joplin, said approval of the bond issue will make it easier to recruit people to the area.
“When we recruit from out of the area, the first thing people want to know about is the school system,” Adams said.
Selling them on a community where children attend school in a converted warehouse and a big box store isn’t easy, she said.
“All of this is going to go a long way toward convincing folks this is a community with a viable future,” Adams said.
Dreiling said that when Modine tries to recruit senior managers and specialized positions such as engineers from outside the area, some have a perception that Joplin was blown away by the tornado.
She doesn’t find it hard to make the candidates the job offer, but getting families to visit is tough.
“I had one candidate ask me if school was being held in FEMA trailers,” Dreiling said.
An estimated $185 million worth of investments in our local schools will now materialize rather quickly, Dr. Huff said this morning. All thanks to insurance proceeds, federal and state government funding, and the 4,982 voters who bothered to cast a “yes” vote on Tuesday.
As Susan Adams said, “Hallelujah!”