On Tuesday, December 11, Princeton voters will be asked to approve a $26.9 million referendum to fund critical updates at all six schools. I urge voters to say yes. If passed, the referendum would fund, among other things:

Upgrades and expansion of HVAC systems. This would add air conditioning and ventilation to some 128 classrooms at the elementary and middle schools, and help prevent future mold outbreaks in wet summers such as the one we just weathered.

Electrical and mechanical updates so that our schools — the youngest of which was built in 1965 — could adequately accommodate today’s technology.

Security improvements to entrances — a sad, new necessity.

Pressing needs at the high school, including the addition of four classrooms, a redesign of the guidance office, an expanded fitness space, and a second distribution point for school lunches.

If approved, the bond would increase taxes by only $6.79 to $12.61 per $100,000 of assessed home value for the first three years, and then would drop substantially below current tax levels as old facility bonds are fully paid off in year four.

Let us end this contentious election season with a show of town unity and vote Yes together on December 11.

— Nicole Pezold-Hancock, Jefferson Road

I am in support of the referendum; as I was of the referendum back in 2001. My children benefited from the one in 2001 and I want the current students to benefit from this new one.

Once again, the student population is growing and the facilities need to be updated and enlarged. Why should other empty nesters support this referendum? Because our children benefited from their schooling in the public schools and the next generation deserves to as well.

— Jane M. Sheehan, Mount Lucas Road

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I am writing this letter to the editor on Thanksgiving Day, one of my favorite holidays, because it gives us a time to reflect. For me, I am thankful that my kids are thriving and that we live in a community that takes pride in all of our children, in their health and well-being, and in their future. We have the opportunity to demonstrate these community values by coming together to vote yes in the December 11 school facilities referendum.

This referendum is a crucial first step in addressing what our community needs to support our kids. It includes security fixes to bring the schools up to today’s standards in an increasingly scary world where the risks are sadly much different than when the schools were built decades ago. It also updates the HVAC and air control systems. These changes provide the very basics in public health and well-being for our students, as well as for the teachers and staff whose energy, talent, and passion we need at their best every day.

The referendum would fund additional critically needed changes at specific schools. For Princeton High School, these include upgrading the elevator to bring it up to current standards and renovating the counseling area to ensure student privacy. The referendum also would fund a few important updates to support the health and education of our students through athletics (e.g., providing students with on-field access to bathrooms and drinking water and creating adequate practice space for the wrestling and fencing teams).

I am a proud supporter of our schools. I am also an alumna of PHS and when I graduated, more than 20 years ago, my graduating class was about half the size of today’s. The footprint of the district was exactly the same, and the Cranbury agreement was already in effect. Today, we cannot ignore the fact that our district continues to grow from within.

I urge my fellow neighbors and community members to show our kids how much we care about them by voting yes on December 11. And then we must continue to engage together in the next steps to address the changing needs of all of Princeton’s kids, now and in the future. Please find more information about the referendum and where and when to vote on the Princeton Public Schools website: http://www.princetonk12.org/district/about_us/facilities_referendum.

— Tara Sussman Oakman, Valley Road