Vote ‘Yes’ on GFW referendum

To the editor:

I am not scared to say I will VOTE YES. And even if you are not capable of stating it publicly, I hope you will join me too, and VOTE YES on Nov. 5 at your local polling place. I have been a resident of the city of Winthrop for the past 23 years. I care about my community in many ways: as a member of Peace Lutheran Church, the Winthrop Ambulance and as a teacher of 25 years at GFW, just to name a few. Yes, I am a teacher so some might say I am voting yes only because of my job, in fact, I’ve heard people say it to teachers and other staff members. Well, I have invested as many years into the Winthrop Ambulance as I have to the walls of GFW. I am more than just a teacher to my community. My vote matters just as much as the next tax payer or resident.

Keep your teachers and students here by voting YES. In a time where there is a REAL teacher shortage, it won’t take long to find another job, but we don’t want to. We have stayed because we love GFW and our communities. In a time where open enrollment and home schooling is reality, put kids first and let them know you care about them and their school. Help them with their identity of staying a THUNDERBIRD, because they are nervous and they want to know they have a school they can stay a part of until they graduate, and possibly inspire their kids to attend the future GFW.

People keep talking about the amount of YES or NO signs in our towns. Does this define who we are? Just because you SEE more of the NO signs, doesn’t mean that there are more NO voters in the voting district. We live in an amazing country where Freedom of Speech is the First Amendment and the right to VOTE is up to the registered voters in the area. YOUR VOTE IS UP TO YOU…Do the research. Get the facts. Realize the consequences if you vote NO. Calculate what your taxes will actually be. Get educated on the AgCredit because it’s the best shot the farming community has to get help to offset the tax increase. Read the information that was recently mailed to every voting residence in the district. Vote YES now…don’t wait until the next vote or a “better plan”. It might not happen and it’s never going to be less money, especially with the AgCredit. Vote to put families and kids first because without a local school district, everyone will lose in the end. Our communities will lose families because they have no school near them. We will become commuter towns and local business won’t get the same local support because people will shop where they work or go to school. We will forfeit our ability to have a representative on a school board, at least for a while. We will lose our sense of community because the next school will be larger and further away.

We are at a crossroads here at GFW in the communities of Gibbon, Fairfax and Winthrop. The time has come where we need to make a large change–one site centrally located. It is the way we will share resources in the best, most affordable way. It’s time for a change. I encourage you to get out and VOTE, and yes, I will vote YES. I hope you will too. Together, We Are One!

Cari Panitzke