Letters to the editor
School tax “tremendously positive” for education
Editor, The Sun:
The county is abuzz lately with discussions of the proposed 5.5 cent facility tax for the construction of a new high school. The involvement in the conversation shows the wonderful passion and investment of Woodford County residents. As a teacher, I have always felt supported by the community and proud to tell others I live in Woodford County. While I respect differences of opinion, the following points have helped me decide to vote for the facility tax.
The fact that the district’s bonding capacity is lower than the cost of a new high school is not the fault of the current school board and is not uncommon in school districts. In the past, bonds were used to cover several projects that had an immediate need, like the construction of the middle school, renovations to Huntertown and Simmons elementary schools, as well as new HVAC systems at Southside and Northside elementary schools. This money, in my opinion, was not irresponsibly spent, as it addressed urgent needs of students.
The condition of the high school requires immediate attention and repairs will have to be made, whether a tax is passed or not. Without the proposed tax, the board will have to bond more money to cover those repairs. It seems the logical solution is to invest taxpayers’ money in a facility tax, which would cover both the construction of a new school and repairs to the current school.
Since the Board of Education chose not to appeal the recently-certified petition, they have decided to hold a special election. Although a special election is costly, postponing the election until November would still incur steep costs associated with running property tax bills a second time.
I respectfully suggest that the cost of the facility tax to homeowners is minimal and would not have a significant impact on most budgets. The taxes would, however, have a tremendously positive effect on the education of our students. Quality public schools benefit all citizens by increasing home values, attracting new businesses, and contributing to better quality of life in our county.
No one likes to pay taxes - I am certain we can all agree on that! However, I believe that the value of a quality education far outweighs a nickel tax.
“Everyone Pays” Editor, The Sun:
I would like to remind all citizens, not just property owners, that they also pay school taxes every month hidden in many common bills. We live close to the Franklin County line and get our water bill out of Frankfort, which includes Woodford County school taxes. Other bills we pay that include local school taxes are from Bluegrass Energy, Verizon, Windstream and our automobile tag renewals. In April, we paid $44.15 in school taxes for these services, which equates to over $500 a year. Think about how much this adds up for all county residents.
Everyone pays, not just property owners. What is the School Board doing with this money? Their track record of not properly maintaining their buildings and sports fields adequately, then building new and abandoning the old ones, is no longer acceptable. The increase they propose is forever, not just for one new building.
I don’t have kids and don’t mind paying a fair share of school taxes, but I am upset about how the School Board uses our money and continues to spout, “It’s about our kids.” This argument is a form of bullying. Perhaps they should shed a few employees to make up some of the money they want. How about getting rid of the old administration building and housing staff in the new middle school or the Safe Harbor academy to save money?
Several years back when they gave each high school student a new laptop, I about lost my mind. Why didn’t parents pay for these? We are one of the richest counties in the state … students who couldn’t afford the technology should’ve applied to receive one based on their parents’ income level. I knew several students who had their own laptops but were given one anyway. Why? What happened to those laptops?
I don’t want to hear the argument that the buildings are too old to spend more money on. They should have maintained them better all along. Kids are not going to turn out “bad” or be inadequate citizens if they learn in an older school that is well maintained. We are on a fixed income and can’t afford one more penny of taxes. I encourage all citizens, not just property owners, to review their bills for these additional assessments and then decide if they believe the Board are good stewards of the money we already provide.
The following chart showing how much property taxes will increase if the Woodford County Board of Education’s proposed 5.5 cent school tax hike is approved was submitted by Dani Bradley, a supporter of the proposal.