Being a very long-term resident of Hesperia I feel as though I have earned the right to say a few things about the state of our city.
I have long believed that the strength of a city depends on its businesses and the heart of city is its schools. Hesperia is unique in that our biggest industry is in fact K-12 education which does not add to the tax base.
While Hesperia has done a lot to attract bigger business they have gotten very little for their efforts. I think this is because no one, not the city, not the chamber of commerce, not the small businesses and not the citizens, have done enough to support and strengthen our schools.
If we strengthen and improve our schools several things will happen over time. The first will be an influx of better educated higher wage earning parents. This is because they tend to seek out communities that provide a better education for their kids. This influx will back fill our empty homes and crowd out the bad element. Higher income families will spend more and demand more services spurring economic and business development.
Larger employers will be drawn to the Victor Valley when they see an abundant supply of an educated work force being produced by our schools. I have watched as our school district implodes on itself because the forces at work are interested only in themselves or their cause. The forces at work include board members, staff at all levels, unions and parents. I tried to be part of the solution when I ran for school board in 2008 and 2010 and I honestly believe that until the citizens stop electing parents and teachers because "they care about our children" and start electing the pillars of our community because "they can fix the problems," we will not see change from within.
I also believe the small businesses in our community need to do more to support our schools by volunteering and donating money or supplies. When the schools have the support of our businesses they will be able to better identify and address the educational needs of our children and our community.
The last piece of the puzzle is our parents. If you ask my teachers what was different then from now they will probably all tell you parent support and involvement made the difference then. Parents today take no responsibility at all for the education process and challenge the teachers at every turn. Parent involvement is important but when that involvement (or lack of involvement) threatens the safety or quality of education being provided to others, it must be addressed.
Chris Lindsay is a registered investment advisor and a lifelong resident of Hesperia.