There was a gap in the board’s narrative

Dear Editor,

I enjoy creative writing as much as the next person, but the propaganda released by the USD 113 Board of Education on September 12, was anything but an enjoyable read. Why would I say that? Didn’t this press release address an emergent concern and shouldn’t board members be commended for their unselfish, volunteer service and timely sharing of this information? Maybe? IF it had been composed with complete truths and represented the entire story, not just what they wanted you to read. There was a huge gap in that narrative – BERN! As a proud Bern resident, especially one who recently addressed this Board with data and desire for nearly 100 Bern landowners to transfer property to USD 115 “following the students” as we were promised (look up the June 12, 2023 USD 113 BOE meeting on YouTube for details), you can imagine my shock and surprise when our community was completely dismissed and ignored in this land transfer discussion response. Since 2012 when the Bern school was closed, consistently 60 -75 youth from the Bern area (approximately two thirds of Bern youth) have attended school in Seneca. USD 115 has bussed, educated and welcomed our children without any local property tax support – that goes to 113. Our families have had no voice in the education of our children, and we’ve been unable to vote on issues in our children’s school. We are vested in Nemaha Central and USD 115 has legitimate interest in Bern. That’s FACT! I’m saddened to be completely disregarded and forgotten in this response and even more saddened that the interest of USD 115 in the Bern area students – that they have educated for over eleven years – somehow gets spun into a land grab over “less than 10 Wetmore area students”. Since the board tossed out percentages, here are a few. When the Bern School closed, Bern territory accounted for 17% geographically and 8% of valuation, of Prairie Hills. Since Prairie Hills District inception, 60% of attendance centers have been closed by the USD 113 BOE. This is a difficult topic, and it is fracturing our communities unnecessarily. I have a simple request – if you are interested in this land transfer discussion, seek out facts and listen to both sides of the story. It does not matter if you are a concerned patron or elected official, please seek out and share the facts!

Ross Mosteller

Bern

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