The future of the Easton Valley School District is bright. Our students are excelling in the classroom. Our staff are dedicated people, completely devoted to giving our students the best education possible. We are becoming a destination school with families wanting to reside in the district. We have arrived at this point by great community support, now and in the past. We have benefited from former community leaders who have led us to this point.

When one looks back through the decades and thinks about the schooling our ancestors had in the 20th century, we marvel at the changes from the early country schools to our existing schools in the small towns. Our buildings were fine for the 20th century. Today it goes far beyond the bricks and mortar of the past when we talk about "a good education."

As elected officials, our school board and administration must evaluate classroom learning and what it takes for the kids in our rural schools to live in the 21st century. What was new technology 20 years ago is now outdated. Tried and true teaching methods of the past have added, by necessity, new learning strategies for teachers in the classroom.

We ask ourselves, "What must we do to provide skills that take our kids into the job market or to higher learning institutions?" And we look at our buildings and ask ourselves, "Are we safe for emergencies and evacuations? Are we providing for handicapped accessibility in classrooms and in bathrooms? Are we listening to our staff that have given us a long list of maintenance problems on all three floors. Are we safe with the areas outside the building, our driveways, parking and playground?"

We have greatly enhanced our buildings in both sites at Easton Valley, but we're not there yet. We have one last phase in construction to guarantee our students the best education. We have worked hard to give our community a proposal that meets our basic needs plus our goal of remaining financially conservative.

In remaining responsible stewards of our students' futures, we must address these issues. Whatever the outcome of the Feb. 6 vote, be assured that our students will continue to be surrounded with an educated, caring and committed staff and administration. Please vote Feb. 6.

With deep respect for all residents of the Easton Valley Community School District,

Richard Keeney, Miles, a member of the Easton Valley School Board.