Letters to the Editor

Onerous levy should be rejected | Letters

Editor,

We’re encouraging voters to oppose the latest, onerous school bond measure.

We’re opposed because the measure is but another version of the district’s ambition to have a constant, continuing and cumulative revenue source by which to continue its spending all on the backs of taxpayers and property owners.

This latest demand for $7,350,000 which adds 3.8 percent per annum increases the amount to $8,200,000 is another example of a long history of significant, substantial public funding including the 2005 bond measure by which a new football stadium was built and, the 2006 $54 million dollar measure to renovate the high school.

This latest demand for more money is a part of the stated intention of the district to spend another $60 million: $27.5 million to replace Oak Harbor elementary and $12 million for a bus barn, followed by another $20 million by 2020 to do “district wide improvements.”

This is in addition to amounts received by way of grants including almost $4 million from the Department of Defense to “improve students’ performance.”

The district’s claim their per capita student spending of $500 ignored Federal Impact Funds which the District has been receiving for some 50 years. If the impact funds are considered, then the student per diem is much higher.

We’re opposed because the stated use of the funds is frivolous: spending for a bus barn; for middle school athletics; for an “activity bus;” for a “late bus,” for the yearbook; for the school newspaper; and for other non-academic related expenses.

The district bemoaned a lack of textbooks without explaining the obvious: if there is such a lack of text books; perhaps the buses should remain outside; or perhaps middle school athletics could remain discontinued.

The district is not doing what businesses and taxpayers have had to do over the past few years, and that is to reduce expenditures. The current levy provides $3.3 million or 6 percent of the annual budget. The district is telling the community that it cannot operate on 94 percent of budget.

This same district wants to spend another $60 million over the next few years despite a decline in enrollment and its specious concern that Federal Impact funding will stop.

In doing so, the district shifts the burden of future funding on to homeowners and taxpayers; if the federal impact funds remain as it has, the district will certainly keep both the levy funds in place as well for their bus barn, etc.

The district understates the impact this has on us. The district stated that a doubling of the money necessary for the student per diem is not important because it was such a modest number in the first place.

The district highlighted the amount to be paid based upon the current levy, 91 cents per $1,000, and failed to disclose the financial burden of the other bond measure which remains in place. This brings the current levy amount to $265 per $1,000 of assessed value; a $300,000 homeowner will be taxed the sum of $795. A 3.8 percent annual increase imposes an additional burden on the homeowner.

We, therefore, oppose the current levy as being an unnecessary additional tax burden that is incompatible with a proper focus on academic performance.

Please vote no.

Warren and Irene Eraut
Oak Harbor

 

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