DISCLAIMER: The GUARDIAN does not endorse or oppose candidates or ballot measures. We try to stimulate discussion of issues and present facts often ignored by proponents or opponents.
The District sent out a brochure of “facts” to teachers, former teachers, parents, etc. The “facts” were accompanied by an application for an absentee ballot. A District spokesman told the GUARDIAN the list was comprised of “addresses readily available.” No doubt that list didn’t include any known opponents, conservative leaders, Tea Party members, or other known tight-fisted voters. We feel that mailing should have gone to all voters or not at all since it was on District letterhead and paid –apparently– with public money.
A flashier mailer also with an absent voter ballot application was sent by “Friends of Boise Public Schools.” (Great name as it implies a NO vote would be the “Enemy”) It says the $171 million will reduce overcrowding, make critical repairs, and upgrade classrooms. Neither mailer has specifics. They both sound like a Donald Trump plan to “Make America Great.”
The idea of getting to the voters before there is a lot of discussion on issues has become more common lately. The days of researching an issue or candidate and voting on election day seems a thing of the past.
Here are some facts which are gleaned from public records and official sources:
Median home value in the District is $245,000. In Ada County, there is $25.5 billion in taxable residential property value. Commercial taxable property is valued at $11.8 Billion.
That means the tax at current levy rates is $70 per $100,000 in value which amounts to about $171 per year for the median home of $245,000.
Commercial property owners have no voice at the polls. If they live in the District, they get to vote, but only once–essentially on behalf of their residence. That’s one reason for the so-called “super majority” which requires 2/3 approval. The intent is to sort of level the playing field so folks with no real estate holdings can’t impose a tax on the commercial owners who have no vote. It’s a constitutional mandate.
Given the life of the bond is 20 years, that means the average home will have a debt of $3,400 wrapped into the mortgage payment if the bond passes. If the bond FAILS, it logically should have a DECREASE in taxes of $171 per year and no $3,400 added debt.
While there is no such thing as a free lunch, proponents are claiming there will be “no increase in taxes.” That’s because a 20 year bond that was due to expire will, in essence,
be extended for another two decades. If the bond fails, the District is free to come back for repeated attempts to secure voter approval. Once it is passed, there is no second try to repeal.
To claim there is “no increase in tax rates” is like a car dealer claiming he can put you in a new car “at no additional cost” the day you make your final payment on the model you are driving. It will mean you never get out of debt and the car payments are extended. When the 1997 bond was passed, no one ever told us it was really for 40 years, not 20.
This may sound negative toward the bond, but the facts are all correct. If the bond fails it won’t be the end of the world. The District can come back with a modified proposal for voters to consider. That’s exactly what CWI is doing after their recent bond proposal failed.
We would like to see both bonds (CWI and Boise Schools) on the ballot at the same time. That way voters would have a clear picture of the cost of education and decide if they want to pony up the cash.
Click CONTINUE to see the proposed shopping list.
BOISE BOND’S PROJECTS
Pierce Park Elementary rebuild: $13.8 million
Whittier Elementary rebuild: $13.8 million
Amity Elementary rebuild: $13.8 million
Harris Ranch, new elementary school: $13.8 million
Highlands Elementary rebuild: $9.7 million
Mountain View Elementary rebuild: $8.8 million
Valley View Elementary rebuild: $11.6 million
Eliminate “cafegymatoriums” at seven schools: $8.5 million
RENOVATIONS AND ADDITIONS
Washington Elementary infrastructure: $5.4 million
Professional Technical Center, add class space: $13.4 million
Timberline High School, add class space: $12.8 million
Boise High School, update gym/performing arts space: $17.9 million
Hillside Junior High, new gym, cafeteria, class space: $7.8 million
Fairmont Junior High, new gym, cafeteria, class space: $7.8 million
Collister Elementary, remodel P.E., performing arts space: $7.4million
Longfellow Elementary, remodel P.E., performing arts space: $5.9 million
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