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MY TURN: Time to grow back the Cd'A schools' tree

by ADELINE SMITH/Guest opinion
| August 11, 2022 1:00 AM

School means so much to me. It always has. I’ve lived in Coeur d’Alene for over 10 years and have gone to school in this town since preschool. School has always been a safe and stable factor in my life — five days a week, seven hours a day, nine months of the year — where my teachers and friends have created a caring community.

There’s a book that has always stuck with me, one I actually read in school, "The Giving Tree." This book starts with a little boy and a tree that only wishes to make him happy. The boy eats the tree’s apples, climbs on the branches, and lays in its shade. As he grows up, he uses the tree’s branches and trunk, leaving only a stump. It ends as the tree offers the old man who was once the little boy its stump to sit on.

School is one of the giving trees in my life. School showed me how much I love math, as well as how much I hate lunchroom food. In school, I fought in the Russian Revolution, discovered gravity sitting under an apple tree with Sir Isaac Newton, as well as learned to understand what makes a triangle with Pythagoras. I have learned what interests me, and what I could care less about. Each school I went to gave me an education, friends, opportunities and helped to form much of who I am today.

Now, I think it’s time to give back and regrow the tree.

This month, our community will have the opportunity to vote for a school safety and maintenance levy. If passed, the levy will spend $8 million a year for the next 10 years on our schools, specifically targeting the maintenance issues in our district. Projects include fixing or replacing old, outdated equipment; improving air quality; strengthening school security; and applying new and proven technologies to keep threats away from our students and employees.

I know, I know, some of you may be reading this and groaning just thinking about taxes. But, I want you to take a step back and think about what this levy really means for students. Students are our future, and school can be a defining factor of where someone ends up in life. Having a safe school environment is an essential part of creating a positive school experience for students of all ages.

I know some of you who may be questioning this levy don’t currently have children in the school district, or may not directly see the benefits to this levy. Personally, I am often indecisive in regards to a decision or situation where the answer is not clear. That’s why I’ve always loved math. It is constant, structured and most of the time there is one correct answer; 2+2 always equals 4. You can depend on math, and sometimes even use it to point you in the right direction. In this case, these deferred maintenance costs currently are $25 million but will grow exponentially to $101 million if not addressed now. We need to make the investment now for the youth of Coeur d’Alene before the damage becomes even more drastic. This levy can fix some of the vast amounts of overdue repairs and hazards that will hinder the ability for the school to have a positive environment for students.

This is why, as a student, I am asking you to grow back my giving tree and vote YES for the School Safety and Maintenance Levy on Aug. 30.

• • •

Adeline Smith is a sophomore at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene.

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