Letter: Quality education is key to community?s success by Leah Van Zile
For the past three years, I’ve had the opportunity to learn much about the Rhinelander School District as president of Rhinelander Partners in Education (PIE). PIE is a non-profit organization comprised of local business and industry leaders, along with school leaders from the public and parochial schools here in Rhinelander. We work to bring real-world business exposure to our students.
Over these last three years we have built many bridges to link businesses with education, such as arranging classroom speakers from local business, organizing Careers on Wheels in the spring which features careers that use large vehicles, hosting Mini-Business World in partnership with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and creating the Mad Money financial simulation, held in February, which partners 20 business vendors from our community to work with all juniors on budgeting and finance in a life-like scenario. All these efforts have given me the opportunity to learn about the district and the challenges it faces. These are real challenges with real, hard working, honest people trying to solve them.
Partners in Education supports the upcoming referendum and realizes that strong schools are critical to growing our local economy and attracting employees and families. For the cost of a cup of coffee each week ($2, based on $100,000 home value), we can continue a quality education for our students and keep Rhinelander a place where people want to live, work and raise a family. National research on public schools and economic development found that: 1) quality public schools can help make states and localities more economically competitive; 2) public schools indisputably influence residential property values; 3) the quality, size and shape of school facilities themselves affect economic development.
Quality education is the key to our community’s future success. I personally want the best doctors and nurses taking care of me when I’m sick or injured. I want the best mechanics working on my vehicle and my brakes. I want the best bankers taking care of my money, the best police officers ensuring my family’s safety and the best teachers educating my children at school, so one day they can be successful, contributing members of our community, taking care of one of our needs in the future. A yes vote for our schools is also a vote for our community. We can control our own destiny and keep Rhinelander a place to be proud of.
Leah Van Zile, Rhinelander