Keep Open Gym Free
*** UPDATE ***
THANK YOU ALL for your participation in this petition! The school board and superintendent have heard you, and they have reconsidered the decision to start charging for open gym. So open gym is going to stay FREE! And each of your voices mattered! You can read the school district's statement about it by copying and pasting this link into your web browser: https://docs.google.com/a/isd186.org/document/d/11X1jaO7-GwUfv9J4N6s_RjMCMWSrTo4kfawNsmdOiec/edit?pli=1
The Pequot Lakes community has had open gym access at the school's gymnasium for years. We have been fortunate enough to have a great school athletic complex paid for by community support through the recent capital bond referendum. Our school board has decided to start charging the community for open gym. We, community members of the Pequot Lakes school district, insist that the school board keep open gym free and open to the community.
During the campaign period for the recent capital bond referendum, the school board sent a brochure to tax payers about the referendum. In that brochure, the school board stated that one of the community benefits if the referendum passed would be "Greater community access to gymnasium(s) and designated community room." Charging a fee for open gym will restrict community access to gymnasiums and conflicts with what taxpayers were told during the bond referendum campaign period. Taxpayers are already paying to fund the new athletic facility, and we were told that we would have access to it.
Charging a fee for open gym will restrict community gymnasium access to only those people who have excess disposable income and will exclude people in lower income brackets. For a family of 4 to consistently attend open gym under the school board's new fees, it will cost almost $70 per month.
Having open gym two nights a week provides a positive activity to engage youth during that time. Charging for open gym will mean that less youth will be able to afford to attend, which for them will remove a positive activity in which they were previously engaged. According to an Oregon Drug Enforcement Administration, youth involved in activities are less likely to get involved in illegal drugs or bad behavior.
We have an obesity epidemic in our country, and people need more exercise. Attending open gym is a way that many youth and adults in our community currently get exercise. In addition to weight reduction, physical exercise is a stress reliever and has a positive impact on mental health. Charging a fee for open gym will lead to less people attending open gym and getting exercise.
By signing this petition, I ____________ am showing my support for keeping open gym free and open to the community.
Want to do more to help than just signing this petition? You can call the school district's office and voice your opinion to the superintendent. Phone numbers and email addresses for school board members are listed on the district's website, so you can voice your opinion to them as well.