By Frank Williford – I expect the low key media treatment given to the proposed $107 million WISD bond issue has not generated enough serious thought by taxpayers. How much will taxes go up is not the most critical issue, even though it is important and an immediate 10% rise is estimated. A closer look at details of the proposed issue will startle you.
First taxpayers will not be on the hook for “only” $107 million. This figure is the base borrowing amount. When principle and interest are factored in, the tax payers will be liable for 1/2 Billion (yes Billion) dollars over the next 40 years.
Taxpayers should also note that the appraised value of their house will very likely double or even triple over that same time period. Now how much tax will you have to pay to retire the $107 million in debt since the County will be quick to apply increased home value assessment whenever it can.
I believe normal tax revenue growth should provide any additional funding required by the WISD until entirely new schools are demonstrably needed. Then a bond issue with a specific project in mind can be considered.
There are also another couple of important points. It should be noted that not one new school is included in this present pork laden bond issue. Some expansion for the high school and some renovation for other schools are included but much of the money will be spent on feel good issues that have absolutely nothing to do with improved academic results. Even the $10 million of enhanced technology proposed is already largely outdated and what remaining lifespan it might enjoy is limited and should never be paid for with debt that will go on and on for the next 40 years, long after the technology has been relegated to the scrapheap.
One should not forget there was a large bond issue by the WISD only a few years ago and a new high school and two secondary schools were built for far less money than what is now being now proposed which includes not even one new school. What are the chances of WISD not asking for more money for new schools relatively soon? You be the judge!
Only last year the then WISD superintendent asked that over reserve in the P&I sinking fund for the previous bond issue be moved over to operations and maintenance. This should never be allowed yet this new bond proposal is packed with issues more accurately classified as operations and maintenance.
Obfuscation of this magnitude is more than just ingenious.
And lastly the new non-educational facilities being proposed will also require maintenance and increased personnel for operations. None of this is of course mentioned as it is not part of the bond issue. Where will this money come from? The taxpaying public should never ever allow a bond issue this large with so little accountability be passed. Smaller bond issues that accurately and honestly present the actual WISD needs and the ramifications of those needs should be utilized.
As a final note, does anyone find it curious that early voting will only be at WISD facilities? There are laws again electioneering within a certain distance of the polling place. Anyone want to bet more than one parent will be asked while on the WSID premises “Would you like to save some time and vote for the bond issue while you are at the school today?”