Vote “yes” on our new high school


Photo: courtesy of the Burlington School District

Oscar Jacobsen, Staff Writer

As first block starts, the band plays scales and warms up their fingers. I recognize the song. It’s the theme from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. The music crescendos… just as my teacher finishes the presentation on the immune system. You see, I’m in my science class on the other side of a thin wall that separates us from the band room. 

I have studied at the Macy’s department store for the past two years. If the November 8 bond passes, I will never get to experience the new high school, yet I will be asking my parents to vote “yes” regardless, for the sake of future students.

The former department store is not a school. Did your high school have a gymnasium? Local sports fields? Science labs? Lights that turn off? Walls that go all the way up?

Mine does not. 

The building is simply not meant to be a school. It is a department store. Picture bright fluorescent lights, inconsistent carpeting and tiling surrounded by plain, lackluster walls and the lights are always on. Many students complain that the incessantly bright lights give them headaches. The thin white walls- some of which don’t even touch the ceiling- separate rooms. This generates a lot of noise and distractions, while rooms with full walls echo constantly. 

I do not even know what I am missing in science. Today, instead of doing a lab, we had to watch our teacher demonstrate the procedure because we didn’t have gas piping to fuel bunsen burners. In some cases, there isn’t even space for safety gear. Science is a physical subject and should involve physical, hands-on education. Our school should not be producing chemists who have never interacted with chemicals other than through a computer screen.

After school we walk over to the bus station- sometimes you have to run. Sometimes you don’t make the cut for the first bus, and you have to wait for the next. It’s high stakes. People are pushing to get to the front to make it to practice on time. When you do get on, every seat is taken. The aisle is filled with people standing. Having to fight for a spot on the bus every day after school to arrive on time to sports practices is something BHS students should not have to worry about. Instead, we should be able to have a building which actually meets the requirements of being a school.

Photo: courtesy of the Burlington School District

Some argue building the new school will raise taxes too much. According to the Burlington School District’s tax plan, taxes will vary between households and will be determined by property value and yearly income. Taxes range from $16 per month for homes worth $225,000-$300,000 and an income of $50,000-$70,000, to $91 per month for homes valued over $500,000 and an annual income over $140,000. These prices are not cheap and can have negative impacts on families. But the alternative is just not acceptable.

Although I enjoy the band and the music they play, I also need to have focus in my classes. Schools are built and facilitated to educate its students, so why should we have one that cannot? The Macy’s building is inadequate for teaching and learning and it is vital for the sake of future students that we build a new high school. Please do the students in Burlington a favor. Please vote “yes” to build a new high school.