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Mission: Impossible for Jefferson schools?

By Tom Fetters

Where’s Jim Phelps when we need him?

Supporters of the School District of Jefferson’s upcoming referendum for construction money may be wondering the same thing.

The district is asking residents to approve a $35.2 million referendum for an addition and renovations to its high school, and according to a School Board official, the district could have access to $10 million in no-interest bonds for the project through the federal stimulus program.

Ever since the death last week of Peter Graves, whom I best remember as Jim Phelps, the cool, calm can-do leader of the Impossible Missions Force on the “Mission: Impossible” television show, I’ve had the “Mission: Impossible” theme playing inside my head:

And I keep coming across seemingly impossible problems in need of solutions.

Perhaps none of those problems is more difficult than that facing the Jefferson schools. Not only have voters rejected the district’s past two referendums — a $49.5 million request for a new high school building in April 2008 and a scaled-down $37.9 million request for a high school addition and renovation in November 2008 — but the county’s jobless rate is 10.3 percent, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Workforce Development, and this newest referendum apparently has more than a little local opposition among residents who feel that their resources already are being stretched to the breaking point.

Yes, it looks like the Jefferson schools have their own Mission: Impossible. Now we’ll see if they’re up to the challenge without Jim Phelps.

Tom Fetters is a copy editor at The Daily Reporter. He vows to rent another Peter Graves classic movie, “Airplane.”

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