What we are voting for? The importance of voting yes for ’Busco schools

It is so important that we vote yes for our community’s school on the upcoming ballot. I believe that we must all be extremely mindful of what we are voting to maintain and what we can lose if we do not vote yes for our school, our community and our kids.

I do not remember a time that music was not a part of my life. Music permeated our family. The youngest of four kids, someone was always humming a tune heard on the radio, or more likely, a tune learned at school in choir band, or at musical rehearsal. I had plenty of repertoire to mimic.

My first experience of music taught to me was by Susan Lough. After elementary, when I moved into our Jr./Sr. high, I had my sights set on drama and show choir. Of course, as a freshman I auditioned for New Era show choir under the direction of Rosalie Geller. Memories of dramas, musicals and show choirs, are some of the absolute best memories of my high school days.

Why this trip down memory lane? Well, for me, those experiences set me up for a lot of success in my future. I developed friendships, improved my confidence, and ignited a love for the arts and life-long learning because of my involvement in these programs.Though I did not pursue music in college or as a career, I am currently employed as a vocalist.

Years since graduating, our school drama/theater department is still going strong! So many small schools don’t even have a drama program, let alone dream of doing musicals with a large cast. My kids have been a part of recent productions like “Annie,” “Into the Woods,” and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” My daughter is excited to be part of the upcoming production of “Once On This Island.”

Our show choir family has expanded to include a middle school show choir, New Generation. Under the direction of Aaron Childress, New Era and New Generation have earned multiple Grand Champion trophies, not just in their small school division, but against much larger schools like Northrop and Carroll. New Era Show Choir has been blessed to have ’Busco alum Melissa Baughman in the wings for many years to help steer the ship even between directors. Our own superintendent, Dan Hile, came to Churubusco as a director for New Era. So why are NE and NG so successful? Our school is so tiny! Have you heard of Sue Lough? Melissa Baughman? It’s called consistency. Steadiness. Unity.

For those that believe these programs are too costly, you should note that these programs already operate with little or no budget from the school. While the school may maintain a space and staff for these activities, they are largely self-funded. Costs associated with costumes, materials, equipment and fees are largely paid for by the group’s participants and countless fundraisers like the annual New Era Show Choir Invitational and the Chimer’s TinCaps night. Yet, without a vote YES for our school, these programs and the staffing it takes to run them are in jeopardy.

And, while I speak specifically for music, cuts necessary without a yes vote will not only impact these programs, but have the potential to impact many areas of our kids’ lives and the overall culture of our community.

Groups like New Era, New Generation, thespian clubs, Sound Masters, Chimers, Churubusco Turners, art, advanced college-level academic classes, athletics, and so many others, don’t just give our kids something to do. It’s not just another “thing.” It’s been proven over and over again that kids who take music — band, choir, etc.—get better grades and are better citizens, and kids who are involved and given the opportunity to explore their gifts and passions are better prepared to succeed in school and life. Seriously. Google it. These programs give kids (and families) a sense of community and camaraderie. They learn life lessons like punctuality, teamwork, articulation, leadership, accomplishments vs. failures, poise, diligence and endurance. And who knows? Maybe even their vocation. My children are currently reaping these benefits.

If our school goes, so do these programs. It won’t be as simple as scooping our kids up and putting them somewhere else. Please vote yes for Busco schools.Yes for our kids.

— Richelle Ransom Bock

Churubusco High School Class of 1997

Re-elect George Schrumpf as District 2 County Commissioner

I am writing to ask the voters of Whitley County to re-elect George Schrumpf as the District 2 County Commissioner.

I have dealt with county government since 1981 and have worked with several county commissioners so I can truthfully say that George is the hardest working commissioner that I’ve ever been associated with. In addition to serving as District 2 Commissioner since 2011 George is a business owner and serves on numerous not for profit board of directors and committees. He also serves as our representative to the Whitley County EDC. One of the key issues before us is jail overcrowding and what we’re going to be able to do to remedy that situation. George serves on the Jail Task Force for Whitley County and he is becoming very knowledgeable on the subject so we need to keep him in office until a decision is reached.

It is true that we (the commissioners) don’t always agree on issues but wouldn’t you prefer votes of 2-1 instead of 3-0 every time? We are all free thinkers and have varied opinions of issues.

Thank you in advance for your vote to retain George Schrumpf as County Commissioner.

— Don Amber, District 3 County Commissioner

Local education matters

I am writing to support the passing of the local referendum that will be voted on in the May 8 elections. I have lived in Churubusco for eight years and I have two children that attend Smith-Green schools. I support this referendum for the following three reasons:

1. Local education matters.

2. The school is not asking for the maximum it is allowed to ask for.

3. All referendum revenue stays here.

First, local education matters. Research shows that smaller schools can positively impact academic performance. We moved to Churubusco eight years ago because of the smaller school size. Also, as a single parent, the opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities at a single school building are much better than trying to coordinate transportation and attend events at different schools in opposite directions in a larger, urban district. My sons have more opportunities to explore their interests since home is just a bike ride away with no major traffic worries. This was a major factor in relocating to Churubusco, and if the long-term consequence of not passing a referendum would result in attending separate schools in another town, my children’s opportunities will be greatly diminished. I want my money to support a local school district instead of spending it all in gas to go somewhere else.

Second, I attended the public forum in December and learned that of the three options that are available for the school to ask for, they have chosen the middle option. They are not asking for the maximum increase allowed. They are asking for the middle option, which allows for meeting the needs of the next eight years and restoring a 15 percent reserve. It is a reasonable request. And the law allows that if local conditions would change or improve, the school can reduce the amount of tax they need below the 0.6298 rate requested. They review the amount needed annually.

Finally, state laws allow all revenue raised by the referendum to stay in Churubusco. I have no interest in paying more taxes to go to the state of Indiana to decide how they will be spent in my community. They have drastically reduced education funding in four different ways in the last 10 years and have decimated the ability of local schools to provide the education they choose for their children. Over 40 percent of Indiana schools now operate at a deficit because of Indiana legislative decisions. This is not just a Churubusco problem. It is a state problem, and the only legal option allowed is a referendum.

But, any money raised by a referendum stays with the local district to provide our children with the opportunities we need to prepare them to be independent, responsible citizens and members of our community’s future. I wholeheartedly support the referendum because the money I am willing to provide the local school will stay here.

In summary, the issue at hand was not created by the local school, but it is up to the local district to solve it. It is the only legal option. The request is reasonable, the money stays here, and my children will continue to benefit from the advantages of having a school right in my community. Having moved from a large, urban district, the money I will spend even with the increase is significantly less than I paid where we were, and less than paying a neighboring district and still being saddled with increased opportunity costs for my children.

Please research this issue for yourself at yes4buscolschools.org and vote in favor of the referendum on May 8.

— Brian Clark


Re: Whitley County Commissioners Face CAFO Choice written by Doug Driscoll

Mr. Driscoll,

Please change the needle in your phonograph, this same song is getting tiresome.

I disagree with your stance on IDEM’s involvement with CFOs. Following is an quoted from its website, in.gov/idem/cfo.

“Animal farms are places where animals (swine, beef and dairy cattle, calves, sheep, lambs, horses, chickens, turkeys, or ducks) are raised for pleasure, food, or fiber. When farmers keep the animals together in one area for feeding and maintenance rather than letting them graze on pasture, it is considered an animal feeding operation. The manure animals produce must be properly managed by the farmers raising the animals.”

In my present employment, I have seen up close and personal the workings of IDEM. They have “teeth” and will use them!

I personally have no issue with how a farmer chooses to do his job and run his/her farm. I enjoy watching the crops coming in the spring, the smell of corn growing in the summer, even the cleaning of barns as I so affectionately refer to as “country gold,” the crops being harvested late summer, fall.

Thanks to the “pot” being stirred on this issue I have attended several governmental meetings and have seen clearly that your comment about our elected officials representing a small sector of the economy is more than unfair and false. These individuals give up their time to do the right things for all of us, not just for today but for our futures, that we have not even chosen to focus on yet.

I have such hope that whomever is elected this year — we can all accept this and put the backbiting to a rest and learn to get along. Let’s try walking a mile in the other man’s shoes.

— Barbara Bratt

Non-Farming, Non-Laker Neighbor

Columbia City

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