Monday, January 24, 2011

Referendum Vote in Upper Merion

Many of you know that the Special Election Referendum vote is tomorrow, January 25th, but unfortunately many do not. I am writing not only as a parent of three children but as a resident of Upper Merion as well. We need for this referendum to pass not only for the safety and welfare of the children (which is the first priority) but also for our properties to retain their current value.

In this day and age there should not be a school where smoke detectors and sprinkler systems aren’t installed and working. Unfortunately, this is the case at Caley, one of our elementary schools. Additionally, at Caley the announcement system does not reach the entire school and when an emergency lock down was called for last school year a few of the classrooms carried on like normal not knowing it was in effect. The boom of new developments and younger families moving into our district has created overcrowding in all four of our elementary schools. Closets are now turned into specialist rooms.

As a home owner, this referendum must pass for if it does not we will be forced to have trailers placed at elementary schools. Our property values will go down and our Upper Merion Schools will not be the District people would want their children to attend making it harder when trying to sell your home or refinance.

It is true that schools were closed in the 1980’s due to lack of enrollment. I know as I went through this school district. I attended Gulph Road Elementary until it closed. My classroom in 3rd grade was a combined class of 3rd and 4th grades and had around 17-20 students total. There was no reason to keep the school open. But times have changed. We could reopen Gulph Road but it would displace the Senior Center and we would also lose the revenue from Toddler Town and Gymboree and we’d still have to spend a lot of money to rehabilitate that school for today’s standard which would require the school district to raise taxes as well.

Will our taxes go up? Yes. The average home assed at $200,000 at will pay an additional $26 the first year and $52 for years 2-15. The amount in total will be approximately $1,044 for the 15 years and then the taxes would be reduced by that amount and the bond would be paid in full. I am a single mother of three children; I do know firsthand how hard it is in this economy to keep up with bills, home repairs and daily living. I am not trying to down grade that in any way but safety comes first.

This is just the opinion of one person of the tens of thousands that live here but, I truly care for the children and want to see them given the best opportunity to learn and grow. Please take the time to go to your usual voting spot and vote YES for this referendum.

Maura Buri
610-834-1492 home, 610-476-9787 cell