By MIKE DAVISDirector, Wilson CountySchools
Tomorrow, Oct. 1, the citizens of Wilson County will have an opportunity to make history and shape the future of our county by casting their VOTE FOR the referendum on a wheel tax to be levied on vehicles registered in Wilson County.
The referendum calls for a $25 wheel tax needed to retire the bonds for the construction of a new Lebanon High School and the purchase of property for a new Watertown High School. Once the bonds are paid off, the $25 wheel tax will be removed.
This single act of passing a referendum will have a much greater impact than providing the resources to build a school and purchase property for a future school. The benefits to our entire county will be long lasting and far reaching as it will provide an investment in the education of the children of Wilson County for generations and create a climate for economic growth and expansion throughout our county.
First, allow me to address the benefits to the education of our youth. Wilson County Schools are the envy of other schools throughout Middle Tennessee and our students continue to excel and compete with other students enrolled in much better funded programs around the state.
Our students rank among the best of the best academically, athletically and in state and national competitions. Hundreds of families move into our county each year just for the opportunity to enroll their children in our school system.
With the continued growth in student population and an old dilapidated facility, we are now faced with a critical need for a new Lebanon High School. Our current facility at Lebanon High School is marginal at best and is beyond the point of renovation. Our students are forced to endure substandard conditions and yet expected to achieve a world-class education.
There is little or no debate about the need for a new Lebanon High School, which will provide our children with an opportunity to learn and grow in a clean and safe environment conducive to teaching and learning. If for no other reason, it is a moral obligation we owe our children and future generations who will benefit from this investment. After all is said and done, our children are our greatest legacy and the heirs and beneficiaries of all we can give them.
Secondly, permit me to address the economic growth and expansion that often follows as a result of providing a quality educational program. Businesses and industry evaluate future sites for expansion based on the quality of life the new location can provide for their employees and their families. Public school facilities and educational programs are ranked at the very top when CEO’s look at investing their company’s resources in relocating their business and/or industry to a new area. Often the first and lasting impression that CEO’s take away after visiting Wilson County is that of an old, dilapidated and outdated school building at Lebanon High School. Once they see our building, they are not interested in exploring any further and begin to look elsewhere to relocate their company. The result is lost jobs, lost revenues and lost opportunities for Wilson County. In addition, property values either decline or do not appreciate at a rate equivalent to surrounding counties, which will to continue to compound an already stagnant local economy.
Tomorrow, Oct. 1, you will have the opportunity to make an investment in the children of Wilson County and provide a strong infrastructure for future economic development for our entire county. Seldom will you have such an opportunity and I urge you to join with me and exercise your right to make this important decision by VOTING FOR the referendum. A VOTE FOR the referendum is a VOTE FOR THE CHILDREN OF WILSON COUNTY.