To the editor:

The time is upon us to decide how we are going to vote on the Baker Middle School. For me, the decision is easy. I know my priorities. My first priority as a parent is the health and safety of my children. I trust the school district to protect the health and safety of my child at school equal to the same level that I provide at home and off campus. The condition of the middle school compromises the school district's ability to provide that same level of protection. No matter what they do, they are stuck with an old building with serious health and safety issues.

If this bond measure is not passed, we will face an even longer delay in moving forward. What if we have a fire or earthquake in the meantime? What about children who become sick because of mold? What about those with physical disabilities? While we debate, these children suffer! While we debate, the costs skyrocket!

It has already been shown that the new construction will be the least expensive way to go. The square footage of the new construction was andquot;bumped upandquot; to equal the square footage of the old buildings. This was done to create the andquot;apples to applesandquot; comparison, so we could compare the cost, foot by foot. It was not the intention to build a school with exactly the same square footage. The new building will be smaller but the property will be much larger. If the future brings growth to Baker City, we can add on to the new building as needed. The only way to obtain additional property and keep the current location would be to condemn or purchase surrounding homes and business. This is something I'm not comfortable with. We should not force people from their homes.

My second priority is quality of education. We are fortunate to already have quality educators teaching our children. We need to support those teachers with an updated, healthy environment to teach in.

We need to stop debating and take action. Please support the bond measure to build a new school.

Lori Rowland

Baker City