November 28, 2018

Dec. 11 School Facilities Referendum Offers Chance to Demonstrate Community Values

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to the editor on Thanksgiving Day, one of my favorite holidays, because it gives us a time to reflect. For me, I am thankful that my kids are thriving and that we live in a community that takes pride in all of our children, in their health and well-being, and in their future. We have the opportunity to demonstrate these community values by coming together to vote yes in the December 11 school facilities referendum.

This referendum is a crucial first step in addressing what our community needs to support our kids. It includes security fixes to bring the schools up to today’s standards in an increasingly scary world where the risks are sadly much different than when the schools were built decades ago. It also updates the HVAC and air control systems. These changes provide the very basics in public health and wellbeing for our students, as well as for the teachers and staff whose energy, talent, and passion we need at their best every day.

The referendum would fund additional critically needed changes at specific schools. For Princeton High School, these include upgrading the elevator to bring it up to current standards and renovating the counseling area to ensure student privacy. The referendum also would fund a few important updates to support the health and education of our students through athletics (e.g., providing students with on-field access to bathrooms and drinking water and creating adequate practice space for the wrestling and fencing teams).

I am a proud supporter of our schools. I am also an alumna of PHS and when I graduated, more than 20 years ago, my graduating class was about half the size of today’s. The footprint of the district was exactly the same and the Cranbury agreement was already in effect. Today, we cannot ignore the fact that our district continues to grow from within.

I urge my fellow neighbors and community members to show our kids how much we care about them by voting yes on December 11. And then we must continue to engage together in the next steps to address the changing needs of all of Princeton’s kids, now and in the future. Look for more information about the referendum and where and when to vote on the Princeton Public Schools website.

Tara Oakman
Valley Road