THE PILOT EDITORIAL - Altans made a statement at polls

Thursday, December 6, 2001

It isn't always easy to do the right thing. In the case of Alta, the right thing was to go to the polls Tuesday in mass and vote to build a school addition that will serve the community's children well for many years to come.

It isn't easy in uncertain economic times to willingly vote to increase your own taxes. It isn't easy to overlook the disagreement about details for the greater good. There won't be many school districts - or communities - in this state that could climb that bond issue supermajority mountain in this difficult circumstance.

Our hats are off to Alta. They have made a big statement about the pride they have in their young people, and the confidence they have in the future.

It wasn't painless, Alta, we know. Progress seldom is cheap, or unanimous.

But the hardest day is over. By the time the walls go up, we imagine even those who voted against the school will be caught up in the pride of the development. And by the time those children are happily studying in the kind of facilities they deserve, you may not be able to find someone who remembers opposing it, and nobody will be speaking of how close the vote was.

The Storm Lake Middle School project took several votes and a firestorm of controversy to build a few years back, too. Today, we doubt one person in the city would go back if they could. The few dollars in taxes don't hurt nearly as bad as would the knowledge of having failed the children.

Alta, you've done the right thing, for all the right reasons. You are a rare community that is moving ahead when most are shrinking in fear of economics, enrollment and bold ideas.

The city didn't just vote to build some classrooms, it voted to build the very best children it can. No matter who voted how, everyone should be able to come together now and celebrate that.