At the Board of Education meeting last night, I raised certain questions about the Capital Proposition to be voted on Dec. 3, which as usual were not answered.
The data offered in support of the proposal is inadequate for voters to make an informed decision. Coincidentally, and for a different purpose, the Board offered the population statistics at the schools other than Lakeville and Baker Elementary.
The question not answered was whether the other schools could absorb students from Baker and Lakeville, eliminating the need for additional classrooms. This could be accomplished by adjusting the school zones, redistributing students along the fringes of these zones.
Additionally, the costs offered by the school district are only capital costs. However, the capital costs are not delineated; just totals are provided. Based on the provided data the public will be paying in excess of $ 1 million per classroom – this seems excessive.
Then, once these classrooms are put into operation they will incur ongoing costs, those of staffing with teachers/professional staff and custodial staff as well as heating and other utilities.
How much will this add to the school budget and increase taxes on an annual basis? Curiously, there has been no discussion of this, just that the capital costs will be addressed without raising taxes. Is it so the voting public believes there is no tax impact?
Plus, no one has addressed what will happen if the funds from which the capital costs are paid need to be replenished in the future – this may also necessitate tax increases. Tax increases may just be delayed to keep the voters happy.
Publishing this data will allow voters to know the population changes and their effects within the entire school district and whether all possibilities to mitigate these effects have been considered.
Is the proposal to be voted on the most cost effective? The data presented thus far is really biased towards approval of the proposition and not allowing thorough analysis by the voting public.
The other question is why does this proposal require a special vote? The demographic changes are not sudden. This could have been addressed as an additional question during the usual spring budget and board election process without incurring additional costs. It is curious that a special election, which has not really been well-publicized, especially in comparison to previous bond proposals, is being called.
This almost guarantees a poor voter turnout. Is that the purpose of such a special election? Does low voter turnout promote passage of the proposal?
A full airing of the proposal and all data, with proper public debate, should be allowed to occur for the taxpaying public to be fully involved and vote in an informed manner.