Hundreds of students, teachers and staff gathered for a School Bond Pep Rally at East High Monday afternoon. It's part of a final push to get voters to say "yes" to $370-million in new schools and renovations when they head to the polls on Tuesday.
"This is about student achievement," said East High Athletic Director Bill Faflick before Monday's rally. "We don't just want to educate the student, we want to educate the entire student. And this is a significant part of that experience."
If approved, the bond would fund construction of six new schools, add hundreds of classroom space to pre-existing schools, improve fine arts and athletic facilities, and add 60 safe rooms to schools across the district.
But it is not without controversy. Opponents say they want the bond voted down because the district's priorities are misguided.
"A school district's number one mission is to educate children," said Helen Cochran, organizer of Citizens For A Better Education.
Cochran opposes the bond for several reasons. She says improving education doesn't start with new facilities. She says it starts with what's being taught inside them.
Cochran also believes voters shouldn't have to approve such a large lump-sum of money if they don't agree with the projects it would be used to fund.
"What they should have done is break this bond into several questions," Cochran said. "Let the people decide what the priorities should be based on what the district is telling us."
Supporters say improvements to many USD 259 schools and facilities are long overdue. Faflick and others say children who enjoy their school and all its ammenities are more likely to take an interest in their studies and extra-curricular activities.
Over at Heights High, there is a desperate need for more space. Principal Bruce Deterding says there are 16 teachers who don't even have their own classroom.
Both sides say as of Monday night, there is little more that can be done to sway undecided voters. Supporters and opponents are ready for voters to have the final say come Tuesday night.