To the editor,

Our family recently celebrated our third (and last) child’s graduation from Grand Forks Central High School. As I reflect on the nearly 20 years we have had children in the Grand Forks Public Schools (GFPS), I am filled with gratitude for the outstanding educational experience all three were so privileged to receive. I’ll admit it’s been easy to take for granted – the incredibly dedicated teachers, the first-rate extra-curricular experiences, the caring and committed administration, the hardworking support staff, and the fine facilities – these have all been such a mainstay in our children’s lives, it’s hard to imagine their lives without them. And yet - none of these factors happened by chance. They were the result of a community that has prioritized the education of its children and young adults. A community that has believed that investing in a well-rounded educational experience for our youth is a cornerstone of an outstanding community.

The residents of Grand Forks have a critical decision to make in the next few weeks – one that will impact our community’s children for decades to come. The ability of the GFPS to continue to offer an exceptional educational experience to our youth depends on all of us. We can choose to invest in our educational system and to say “yes” to a top-notch experience for our kids. Or we can decide to put off much-needed improvements in facilities, operational efficiencies, special needs spaces, security, traffic flow, technology, STEM labs and classrooms, and maintenance – leading to higher costs, inefficiencies, and deteriorating facilities. Most heartbreaking, our kids will suffer a much-diminished educational experience and will pay the biggest price for our lack of investment.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children” (Nelson Mandela). Let’s come together on June 22 and show our children that we believe in them and in their future. There could be no more important investment we could collectively make.

Kristi Hall-Jiran, Grand Forks Public Schools parent