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Superintendent Walter J. Watkins

School City of Hammond Superintendent Walter J. Watkins

On Nov. 7, all of us who call Hammond home have a chance to make Hammond a better place for this and future generations. Through a transparent process decided by voters, we will determine the future of our schools and indirectly our community by voting on the school referendums.

I am asking you to vote “Yes” to support our children, our parents, our community and yes, those teachers and staff who work hard every day to prepare our kids for the educational, public service and employment opportunities of the future.

Why is your “Yes” vote so important?

First, you will be making a wise investment in our teachers and staff so we can retain those who do an excellent job each day in the classrooms and in our buildings. They are the people we rely upon to educate our children, to help them transition from being at home to being at school and to help them as they prepare to graduate.

Second, with your support, we will design and build a new middle/high school to replace Hammond High School. This new building will be housed on the current Hammond High School site. Hammond High has served us well for more than 100 years, but it is in serious need for safety and security upgrades, more and better classroom space, energy efficiency improvements and technology support to help our children compete in the global economy. In addition to Hammond High, we will make improvements to all schools so each school in our district benefits from your support.

Third, despite continued reductions of state support for our schools, we have done everything possible to “do more with less." We have reduced positions, delayed improvements, closed some schools years ago, eliminated additional staff support and saved millions on energy programs. We can no longer to “do more with less” in the classroom. That is why the locally elected School Board held numerous open and accessible meetings to explain our plans to hear your feedback. In addition, we have posted information about the positive impact of the referendum on our website and discussed our needs with various local community groups. If you still have questions about the referendum, please email me directly at

With your support, we will continue to keep our school community moving in the right direction and will improve the educational opportunities and offerings available to this and future generations of students. We do believe our schools are very important to the quality of life in your neighborhood and know that better schools will help to increase your property value.

We continue to graduate students each year who are ready for the challenges of the workforce, public service and our colleges. Our teachers and staff are truly dedicated to our young people and our community. We are a partner in the progress of the city of Hammond. With your “Yes” vote on Nov. 7, we will continue to make our community the best place to live in Northwest Indiana.

It is an honor to serve as superintendent of the School City of Hammond. I ask for your “Yes” vote for our community and the future of Hammond.

Walter Watkins is superintendent of School City of Hammond. The opinions are the writer's.