Vote Yes group is committed to new schoolWhen the Board of Education announced that they had a purchase agreement to buy St. Croix Meadows dog track and that there would be a referendum to get voter support to buy the land, a group of Hudson residents decided to do more than just cast their votes.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
When the Board of Education announced that they had a purchase agreement to buy St. Croix Meadows dog track and that there would be a referendum to get voter support to buy the land, a group of Hudson residents decided to do more than just cast their votes.
The Vote Yes committee and campaign got started right after the school board’s announcement. According to committee member Paul Moen of North Hudson, the group represents a cross section of the community.
Moen, a banker who describes himself as fiscally conservative, was with the First National Bank of Hudson before it was bought out. He and his wife Glenda have raised their family here and their daughter Maddie attends Hudson High School.
“The committee is made up of young parents and longtime Hudson folks including some members of the 2004 Facilities Task Force. It isn’t just people with big money or kids in school but everyone understands what is at stake,” said Moen.
The committee has been making presentations around the area to parent groups, community organizations and one-on-one to friends, neighbors and co-workers.
They say there are four good reasons to vote yes on the referendum:
Sarah Cothran joined Vote Yes because she believes the Hudson School District is at a critical growth point and that the time is now to address overcrowding before it results in a decline of education in Hudson.
“It was clear to me that the St. Croix Meadows property offers not only the land we need, but substantial infrastructure savings as well. For our community, this is a decision between building or not building. And, for me, the non-build options are unacceptable,” said Cothran.
Committee member Ellen Montgomery said she decided to get involved because of a senior citizen she knows. “He’s been through referendum votes in the past, his kids are out of Hudson schools now, he’s paid his taxes and has supported his kids and community for years — this man signed on to support the referendum because he knows it’s right for the community, not just for school-aged families. But he said to a few of us parents at an early meeting, ‘This is your effort now. If not you, who?’ That’s hard to walk away from.”
Joe Schneider got on board because he believes the purchase benefits both the school district and the community by re-purposing an existing vacant property. “The site has established infrastructure that is designed to handle a large volume of people — from water, sewer, and electricity to the surge demands of traffic. The site also allows for a scaled, phased approach while developing; initially allowing for a solution to our space needs and, based on community input, creating an area for the community to utilize.”
Kim Bruner got involved in Vote Yes because she has seen the impact of over-crowding at Hudson Middle School and Hudson High School. She has children attending both schools and a third in elementary school.
“Our family has had great experiences in elementary school but I feel that once our kids moved into the middle school and the high school, there were more stresses at these schools given the larger number of kids there. I think the teachers and staff have done a great job where they can, but we need to provide them with a better learning environment for the future. I strongly believe that the quality of learning will start to diminish at some point as the classes continue to grow and the number of students at both schools continues to increase. So I decided to put my money where my mouth was and join the Vote Yes campaign committee.”
Committee member Laurie Stein describes the former dog track as an excellent secondary campus that provides the opportunity to create a high school with up-to-date learning space and the ability to host school events on campus.
But regardless of the outcome of the vote on Tuesday, Stein has enjoyed working on the Vote Yes campaign. “I’ve met many amazing, talented people from a wide cross section of our community. It is a group of retired people, young parents, parents of school-age children, parents of high-schoolers, recent graduates, and community members without children who believe strongly in public education. It’s been a very positive experience.”
Moen said he understands that no one likes tax increases but he encourages voters to think about any increase in school taxes as a long-term investment in the community and in home values.
“This referendum isn’t about increasing our taxes but investing in our youth and our community. We will get the increase in taxes back many times over from increased home values over the coming years.”
A sample ballot including the referendum question to purchase St. Croix Meadows dog track is included in this week’s Star-Observer.