The school district is in serious need of a voter bailout | Letter

I’ve talked to activists on both sides of the levies/bond measure for hours on end. I’m 67 years old, on a fixed income and the rising taxes are starting to really stress me out. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pay for the pending 2022 and 2026 measures, but after looking at my budget, I’ve decided I can pay for this one.

The data the district gives us is confusing, and quite frankly, I’m burned out trying to figure it all out. I found a July 1, 2017 an online article that helped me a lot and makes good sense. The “tax rate” gibberish is removed so you can focus on the real thing, tax dollars. Tax dollars directly affect our pocketbooks not rates. It’s important to remember rising school taxes aren’t the district’s fault. If you need someone to blame, point to the state Legislature.

The article centers on the House measure passed late last year that raises state taxes by $2.70/ $1000 assessed value to fund education. (The good news is local levy dollars are reduced.) If you’re really interested in an estimate of how the state increase will affect your household budget, I suggest you read the article. Though I may be wrong, I figure if my wife and I have one less latte per day our state tax increase will be paid.

The bond measure is another story. Despised hours of study, it’s too confusing for me to explain how the tax is derived. I do know we are in a terrible hole for lack of classroom space and if the bond doesn’t pass our district will be entering a dark age. On a bright side, should the bond pass the benefits to our kids and teachers will be immeasurable. Please click to see why.

In addition to this measure, we need to budget for two more bond measures — one in 2022 and another in 2026. And, we can expect other taxes over time; for example every biennium the city consistently raises taxes 1 percent and the water utility tax 2 percent. We live in an affluent area under the “Amazon effect” and we have to accept high taxes or move out. Fortunately tax discounts are available for seniors.

At Paige Norman’s “Education Hill Neighborhood Association” EhHNA meeting, Eric Campbell, a developer on the bond committee, addressed cost efficiencies from new architectural and construction practices. New schools will be larger with connections for new wings. The middle school on Redmond Ridge and Juanita High will have two stories with straight walls with fewer corners. Eric says $44 million will be saved by these practices alone. The district is doing the best they can do to educate our children. Now it’s our turn.

Please vote “yes” on Feb. 13.

Bob Yoder


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