To the editor:
I recently received the “Get The Facts” flyer in the mail on the proposed June 15, 2018, bond election. Wow. The USD 453 board truly is the Tooth Fairy. This thing should have been titled “How Can I Help You Spend Your Money – Foolishly.”
Like others have written before me, why in the world are we getting into the prekindergarten business? This is a parent’s responsibility not the state school system. Additionally, what is the liability of this idea? How many more supervisors do you think this will create and cost us? This mere proposal alone makes this bond proposal a non-starter. As for facilities upgrade, I encourage all voters to read this proposal again closely. They want more money to fix schools they received money for to fix in the last bond issue (preventive maintenance). What happened to that money? Where did it go? When you read between the lines of the flyer, it’s just fluff. So vague the board can spend your money any way they want. Nothing binds them or fences them in. The author of the flyer was a master at using scary buzz words. He or she picked words like safety, security, kindergarten, building repair, etc. These are words school boards use all across the state of Kansas to increase our taxes. It’s time to reject this tactic and demand specifics and cost estimates not written by the contractors planning to do the work.
So, here's the bottom line and the Paul Harvey, “The Rest Of The Story.” What the school board flyer does not tell you. There are two USD 453 bonds that are scheduled to pay off this and next year. Realizing this, the school board thought this would be a great opportunity to sell the taxpayer a three-legged bird dog that won’t get off the front porch and hunt. Their plan was to rapidly put together a brainstorming session and come up with ideas and a bond proposal that would equal in spending the amount of money you are currently paying in taxes for the maturing bonds. They would then use the scary buzz words to present the public a bond issue that would be a no increase bond issue tax of $36.7 million. What they failed to tell you is if you vote no on the bond issue, your taxes will go down. If we believe our school board is honest and transparent, why would they leave this part out?
Currently, USD 453 has a debt of $53 million. This number is easily available in courthouse records. Instead of the school board working to decrease this debt, they have just assumed we all have deep pockets and can pay more. At a time when we have judges pushing legislators to spend more on education, I think it is time we as a community take a step back and see where the dust settles on education. This bond issue was put together in a back room of good old boys and girls with little thought or planning. I want to encourage all voters to reject this bond issue and enjoy a reduction in your taxes for a change. Let’s make the school board rethink this proposal. We don't need a plan that looks like a piece of Swiss cheese and allows them more money to move around like checkers on a game board. In the coming week, you will receive your ballot in the mail. I urge you to vote no and send the school board back to the smoke-filled room to manage our money more effectively and efficiently.