To the Editor:
It was clear from the first BSC meeting this was not about deciding to have a bond or not; it was all about “how much.” And we know the answer — a lot!
When the proposed bond is communicated to the KISD Board on Jan. 14, the project list will include projects that the BSC didn’t even rank highly.
The Ellison High School renovation and the stadium expansions were rated 52% and 48%, respectively, yet still emerged on the final list.
The BSC only left one project off and I’m surprised this was not weaved onto the final list magically.
What won’t get communicated to the board is the financial burden this will place on KISD families.
While efforts were made to justify this coming debt load based on other districts’ raw numbers, left unsaid are the differences in family income that make a numbers-to-numbers comparison misleading without fuller detail.
KISD tax-paying families will be in the top quartile for debt load when family median income differences across the state are accounted for. We are at great risk of becoming “house-poor” under a mortgage that really should not be taken on.
To exacerbate the challenge, we’re taking on this new debt while our Impact Aid income is about to take a substantial hit. But instead of less family income to pay the electric bill, we’ll have less general revenue budget to pay teacher salaries at these new schools.
I get it — we all want the very best education facilities for our kids. But we should remember that our kids live in the family households that pay the taxes.
In our quest to build top-dollar schools well ahead of the actual capacity need, we impose a new financial stress on the families that are raising the kids we’re all trying to help.
The KISD board can fix this with long overdue left and right bounds. It has the complete authority to say, “sharpen the pencils” and insist on solutions that are today only trying to be solved with buckets and buckets of taxpayer bond money.
It must not continue the nothing-to-see-here sleight of hand that just occurred with the BSC.
Howard “Scot” Arey
Bond Steering Committee