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David Pittenger

The members of the Rotary Club of Huntington use the following questions when working with others: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

We used these questions to determine if we, as a civic organization dedicated to the betterment of our great community, should endorse the Cabell County school bond request.

Our answers were: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Supporting primary and secondary education is essential to the vitality and future growth of our community’s commerce. In brief, we need to give our students the resources necessary to become successful adults prepared to participate in a growing economy and their civic responsibilities.

Graduates of Cabell Midland and Huntington High become accountants, bankers, barbers, beauticians, carpenters, computer programmers, counselors, first responders, lawyers, machinists, nurses, physicians, pilots, salespeople, and welders. More importantly, our schools prepare graduates for a host of new jobs that advances in technology will transform the imagined to the commonplace.

The bond will support a well-reasoned plan that will fulfill four priorities that benefit the community. First among these is the commitment to no school consolidation. A school, especially the elementary and middle schools, is very much a part of a city or village’s community and identity. Maintaining this school-community link is, we believe, essential to a sense of neighborhood engagement and pride in its resources.

The plan also includes the replacement of outdated facilities. Yes, we have schools built when FDR was president. These buildings are showing their age and are no longer an ideal learning environment. Here again, we face the question, is it fair to all concerned? Yes, all students in our county deserve new, healthy, and safe places in which to learn.

Student safety is central to the long-term plan. Those of us born before the 1970s attended schools with multiple entrances. With the national concern for student safety, our schools require one entry. As such, many of our schools will require new primary doors that will allow students, staff, and guests to quickly enter and leave in a secure manner.

Finally, the plan calls for the modernization and expansion of the Career and Technical Education program. Here again, we see manifold benefits from this initiative. Advances in technology require that skilled machinists be able to use extremely sophisticated manufacturing equipment that requires comprehensive knowledge of mathematics, computer programming, materials, and milling processes that meet exacting standards. The presence of a well-educated workforce is vital to retaining and attracting new businesses to Cabell County.

During a special election, we in Cabell County will have the chance to support an $87.5 million school bond package. Early voting begins on Friday, August 7, and ends on August 22. Please join us to support the bond request.

Using the bond funds and additional contributions from the West Virginia School Building Authority, the school board and others estimate that the economic impact of a $107,200,000 investment will be $321,600,000.

A Class II property owner can expect to pay approximately $6.29 per month on a home valued at $100,000. Class II property owners with a homestead exemption can expect to pay approximately $4.19 a month on a home valued at $100,000. From our perspective, this is an outstanding return on investment.

Let’s take a moment to look at all the abundant resources in Cabell County. We live next to outstanding hospitals and medical facilities in the Mountain Health Network. Marshall University provides a world-class undergraduate and graduate education. Mountwest Community and Technical College and Huntington Junior College help prepare students for worthy and well-paying careers.

In supporting this bond initiative, we will continue to look with pride as our children enter kindergarten and collect their high school diplomas 13 years later.

David J. Pittenger is president of the Rotary Club of Huntington.

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