Last year, a California research company ranked State College as the second-smartest city in America. This is not surprising, considering the influence of Penn State. Having such smart residents presents both opportunities and challenges to local officials. We are a demanding community, but we are better for it.
While Washington is paralyzed by partisan pettiness, State College finds constructive, pragmatic approaches to local problems. While state education funding levels continue to decline, Penn State and our local schools have found innovative responses beyond merely raising tuition and taxes.
Compared to the rancor over the government shutdown, the debate over whether to approve the bond financing to renovate our high school has been relatively civil, nonpartisan and issues-oriented.
The school board circulated a community survey with six options and reviewed the responses. Ninety-one percent of the community indicated that upgrading the high school was important. Although each of the options was someone’s favorite, none of them was everyone’s favorite. Options without broad support were eliminated, and the school board selected between the remaining two.
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The school board did its homework, listened to differing viewpoints, and voted its conscience. As a result of its due diligence and good faith, the referendum earned the endorsement of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County and the Association of Realtors.
Most of us favored other options, but almost everyone agreed that upgrading the high school is important. Let’s move forward by voting yes in the referendum. It’s the smart vote.
Donald M. Hahn