Four months have gone by since Nick Scherling left Post Falls Middle School on foot for home. The cold wintry temperatures have given way to crocuses. The grass is beginning to grow on Nick’s grave.
Nick’s family is aware of the seasonal change. But the community anguish of that dark November evening and the following days has dissipated somewhat. School officials who once were sure Nick’s death at the hands of a reckless motorist would spur patrons to back a vital bond election aren’t as certain now.
A recent hubbub over the teaching of evolution and the perennial opposition of the Kootenai County Property Owners Association have conspired to push Nick’s memory off center stage. That, coupled with Idaho’s two-thirds supermajority requirement for school bonds, jeopardizes the outcome of Tuesday’s election.
The Idaho Spokesman-Review has backed the three previous elections for a new Post Falls High School. A new school will relieve serious overcrowding throughout the district. Now, we have two more reasons for our support: Nick Scherling and Dick Harris. We urge voters not only to back both parts of the new ballot measure - $17.97 million for a new high school and $2.89 million for an athletic complex - but to urge others to do so, too.
No one can say for sure if young Scherling would be alive today if voters had done their civic duty and approved a new high school in 1994, when it was first proposed. But it’s likely he would be. A new high school would have eliminated the need for double shifting at the middle school. Nick wouldn’t have been walking home in the dark after the second shift on Nov. 10. One tragedy is one too many.
Harris, meanwhile, has rebuilt the credibility of the school district after angry voters gave only 49 percent approval to the original bond proposal. As a result, voters provided almost 63 percent approval for the second and third bond elections floated by the district - impressive but still short of the necessary supermajority. Post Falls would be foolish to turn down the bond measure a fourth time.
A decrease in interest rates has made it possible to build both a high school and athletic complex for the same taxable amount as a new school a few years ago - $1 per thousand of assessed valuation. That’s about $60 per year for owners of a $100,000 home with a homeowners exemption. Or $5 per month, which is the price of a modest lunch.
Anyone who’d begrudge the district $5 a month to provide adequate buildings for school children should visit Nick Scherling’s grave - and reflect awhile.
, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board