On School Bonds, What If . . . - The Missourian: Editorials

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On School Bonds, What If . . .

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Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 6:32 pm

Often the opposition to school bonds is due to the added property tax load. Taxpayers simply don’t want to pay higher taxes. There is a percentage of taxpayers who always vote no. That is anticipated and that’s why it is so important to urge the positive and responsible thinkers to cast ballots.

What if these negative tax voters had been denied the opportunities of a quality public education during their school-age years? What if their elders had shut the education door on them? Where would they be today if that had happened?

Every generation inherits a responsibility to provide the best in education for the present schoolchildren just as a past generation lived up to the same responsibility when it was their time.

In so many ways, the Washington School District is able to provide the best in education for today’s generation. However, in other ways it faces the prospect of falling behind, especially because of needed technology extensions. Providing adequate classroom space is a challenge in a district that has grown in numbers of students at all levels. Growth has leveled off, but the district is in the path of future growth and some facilities are old and barely adequate. Modular classrooms are inadequate!

Considerable thought and study has gone into the two questions that will be before voters in the district Tuesday. Question 1 bonds require no tax increase. Question 2 bonds will require a 25-cent hike in the property tax. They will be voted on separately, which means each one stands on its own merits. Each question has been explained thoroughly. Question 1 is a $9 million bond issue (no tax increase). The Question 1 issue will allow the district to modernize and upgrade to a wireless technology infrastructure for all buildings, and build an early childhood education center, to provide services that are very important today. Other improvements and classroom additions will be made at elementary schools at Augusta and Marthasville.

Question 2 is a $40 million bond issue with a 25-cent property tax hike. The latter will enable the district to build a new middle school for grades six to eight and renovate the existing middle school which would become an elementary school. That would result in retiring two old elementary schools — Fifth Street and South Point — which no longer are adequate.

One of the most important parts of Question 2 is that it would enable the district to discontinue the use of modular trailers for classrooms. It’s a safety issue.

Each of the questions requires a 57 percent majority. That should tell every voter how important their vote is. It’s up to voters to decide if they want the district to advance and meet needs or stand still and gradually slip into a downward slide. The community needs a first-class public school district. That’s why your vote is so important. If the district falls back so will the community, and that means individual property also will be less valuable.

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