Imagine talking to the contractors building the Long Beach High School in the late 1950s. Imagine the look on their faces when you mention internet, Ethernet, routers, switches.
Pardon their befuddlement. The first internet router wouldn’t exist until 1969. It was the size of a telephone booth and resided at the University of California Los Angeles.
And yet, the internet and school shootings would hardly be alien to students and administrators at Long Beach High School today. The students were born into the world of the internet and all its wonders. And they live in a world where students have learned to be on the guard.
It’s not so easy to get on the internet. The infrastructure in the school is outdated.
Security worries abound, mostly around the more than 40 ways to get into the school.
Long Beach has long been one of the stellar school systems on the Coast but competition is fierce. And its competitors have news schools.
Taxpayers would be making a smart investment by voting for the $20 million bond issue Thursday that would pay for a mostly new school that would be a combination of new buildings and renovated pieces of the current school.
Supporters of the new school point out that cities with the highest rates of education also have the lower rates of crime.
The study Saving Futures, Saving Dollars found that an increase of five percent in the male high school graduation rate would bring Mississippi $188 million in crime-related savings and $9.9 million in increased earnings.
Opponents say it’s too big a burden on taxpayers. They say it isn’t needed or that the old school should just be renovated or that it should be torn down and a new one built. School officials have vetted those ideas and determined the plan they have is the best one.
A handful of votes caused a similar bond issue to fail in 2005. Imagine how much costlier the school will be today. Imagine how much more it will cost if voters chose to wait another 13 years. Imagine how many students and families will be lost to cities with state of the art schools.
Study after study shows academic achievement is an economic driver. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that if schools in every state were improved to the level of the best state, the United States would be $76 trillion richer.
How much would it cost? School officials say it would add about $125 to the tax bill of a family that owns a $100,000 home. That’s about $10 a month. A bargain.
If you care about Long Beach’s future, cast your vote in favor of the new school Thursday at the high school.