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If it was your house, would you fix it?

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News from the Polson School District 

POLSON — By now, your ballot(s) for the Polson School District Bond election should be in route to your mailbox if they haven’t already arrived. Thank you for your consideration of the various issues our aging school infrastructure faces, which you can review in my previous articles or by checking out the bond website. I’m Katrina Venters, Polson community member, mom of two, and PHS English teacher. As the election nears, I would like to leave you with a final question: if you had one of the following problems in your home, would you fix it?

Just last week, my high school student filled his water bottle from the sink in my classroom. I immediately told him to dump it out because there’s no filter on my sink that removes the lead from the water. In all the buildings except the middle school, sinks and fountains require filters to remove the lead from the water, and the water filters on the sinks require frequent replacement, a maintenance step that stays fairly low on the priority list. Clean, drinkable water from a tap seems like a pretty reasonable expectation, but that’s not the reality in 75% of our schools.

Many of us have probably experienced water being somewhere we don’t want it to be in our homes, a problem we also encounter on our school grounds. My fourth grader frequently refers to “Lake Linderman,” a puddle that covers the blacktop where they play during recess, and of course when Lake Linderman fills up, the kids have less space to play. Some Cherry Valley students bring fishing poles to practice casting when their playground is underwater. In fact, Cherry Valley’s 300 students sometimes go days, weeks, and even months without full access to the playgrounds because of drainage issues that cover the playground with ice or shin-deep water. Our kids need space to expend excess energy to help them learn more during class, but these drainage problems prohibit that. Worse is the water and other liquids that accumulate inside the buildings. At PHS, the bathrooms in the adult ed building, an external structure that would be replaced, backed up causing sewer waste to come up through floor drains. While the waste was removed and cleaned up, the bathrooms in that building are permanently closed now because attempts to fix the problem failed. In Linderman, the only storage area has flooded several times due to sewage blockages. If sewage backed up in my basement, I would fix it immediately.

Any time water unexpectedly invades, mold tends to follow, and our custodians face battle after battle to prevent further damage to our buildings. In addition to the flooding, older windows cause mold to accumulate on the glass when the temperature fluctuates in some buildings. These windows are not only old and inefficient; they do not have openings large enough for our students to escape through in case of emergency. 

If you feel like you need to see any of these things yourself, reach out to one of the schools and ask for a tour. Ask someone who spends time in these buildings to share their experiences with you. Just be sure to make an informed decision when you vote.

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