Editor's note: The following collection of letters comes from Rachel Reeser, a third-grade teacher at Isaac Dickson Elementary School, and a few of her students. According to Reeser, the students “completely voiced their own opinions. They had an assignment to write a letter to county commissioners, but were able to choose what stance they took on the issue and the reasons they choose were the most important to them.” Xpress explores the situation at Issac Dickson in this week’s cover story, “Addition and Subtraction,” which includes comments from county and city leaders and school staff. What’s your opinion on funding for city and county schools? Join the ongoing discussion at mountainx.com. — Jaye Bartell
Third graders at Isaac Dickson Elementary School have recently studied government. One issue in Asheville that really concerns me is finding funding for our much-needed new school building. I hope the county commissioners will consider allocating the funds for a new building for Isaac Dickson Elementary.
Isaac Dickson was built in 1952, and the building is long-past the time in which it was meant to be an operational. Our custodians do an amazing job of keeping the school clean, but if you look closely there are a plethora of problems. Mice, cracks in the wall, leaky windows, leaky walls and mold issues are prevalent in the school. If we have the ability to build a new building, 480 students will be exposed to healthier indoor-air quality.
We have met with the architects several times. The new school would be a wonderful addition to 21st century learning in Asheville and Buncombe County schools. This new building may be quite expensive to build, but it will be cheaper to operate. We currently spend more money than necessary to heat and cool our school. The windows are old and drafty; you can feel the cold air when you are standing near any window in the school. The new school would have much more efficient windows and therefore we would be able to save money on heating and cooling.
The proposed new building has many intelligent design features. One is the filtered, day-lit windows that will keep students exposed to more daylight and drastically reduce our use of electricity. Research shows that students in classrooms with filtered daylight are more alert, pay attention better and sleep better at night.
All children in Buncombe County should be able to learn in clean, efficient, up-to-date buildings. I hope the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will consider voting “yes” to funding a new IDES. I would be glad to give the commissioners a tour of IDES so they may better understand our current building. Thank you, commissioners, for all you do to keep all students in Buncombe County in clean and healthy learning environments. — Rachel Reeser, teacher, Isaac Dickson Elementary
My name is Athena. I am writing to ask you for the funding for our new school. One reason we should get a new school is that there is mold and dust in the corners. That makes us sick. If we get a new school that does not have mold or dust, then kids who were sick can come back to school and learn!
We have bright lights that make it hard to see the board. If we get windows that make daylight come in, we can see the Smart Board and kids will learn more and pay more attention. Also, our windows have cracks. That makes cold air come in to the classroom. Then we need to make it warm. We pay money for heat. Remember there are cracks in the windows. The heat escapes through the cracks and then it is cold again. I really hope you will vote yes to funding our new school. — Athena Murray
My name is Felix. I have some good reasons you should give us the funding for a new school.
First off, our school is very inefficient. There are all sorts of things wrong with it, such as the cracks in the windows that let in cold air. This makes us use the heat more frequently. Plus, heat is not free. Our school costs a lot of money to operate. Because of all the problems, we have to pay to get them fixed. A lot of the problems keep occurring so we have to pay more and more which costs a lot over time. There are a lot of problems with our school which we cannot fix. One really bad one is the mold that infests our school. The mold makes a lot of kids sick so they don’t get to learn as much. As you can see from my short letter there are a lot of problems with our school. I only listed a few so it would really help if you gave us the funding for a new school. — Felix Marlin
My name is Max. I go to Isaac Dickson and we really need a new school. It will take a lot to build it, but it will be worth it. I think you should consider giving us the funding to build a new school. One reason is this school is very old and people get sick from mold in the air. Cracks are in the windows and we pay a lot of money for heating and cooling. Another reason is the fluorescent lights. We would like more daylight and research shows daylight is better for students to sleep and learn. And we will be able to see the board better. The last reason is our school was built in 1952. It was meant to last 50 years so it is past its due date. Vote for a new school for Isaac Dickson! — Max Meier
My name is Cabell. We are studying Government and Asheville issues. I think it would be really awesome if you would consider giving us the funding for a new school building.
One of the reasons I think we should get a new school is our school was built in 1952, and this building is way past its time. It was supposed to be shut down by now. It has mold, cracks in the windows, walls that leak water, and sometimes we even see bugs crawling around.
Another reason you should consider giving us the funding is because if we get a new school, the lighting will be better. Natural light will come into our classrooms and we will not even have to use the overhead lights. Also, we will be able to see the board a lot easier. Research shows if we have natural lighting then kids will learn better and work harder.
If we get a new school building, more kids will come to school here and our school will be bigger and better. Also it will be more efficient. Kids will also have more fun learning and playing. Our class met with the architects and looked at how our new school would look and everybody loved it! If you would like, you can come visit our school and see what it looks like now. A new school would be like a miracle! hope you consider voting yes to funding the new school. Thank you for all you do for us, you guys are awesome! — Cabell MacMillan