We look for the Meridian School Bond to fail at the polls Tuesday, but not for lack of trying.
Both sides sent mailings to school patrons–a fancy word for taxpayers–and both had reasons to vote their way. The GUARDIAN predicts the vote will actually become a referendum AGAINST growth rather than any judgement for or against teachers, administration, or taxpayers.
Pro forces caged the funding as “no tax RATE increase,” while downplaying the huge increase in VALUES which lead to increased tax bills any way you cut it.
Anti forces cobbled together a flyer making it look like the teachers were overpaid by about 30%, claiming they work 9 months and if figured on an ANNUAL BASIS that amounts to a lot more cash. They also included some names and salaries which will look high to anyone making less and low to those making more.
Both sides were less than forthright in their presentations and we figure voters will probably say, “wait a while on this one.”
It takes 66 and 2/3 per cent to pass, so that means 34% against can kill the bond.
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Sep 18, 2005, 9:41 pm
You might be right. This one is tough to call… I wouldn’t take bets either way. You have to keep in mind that this isn’t just about the bond, the money, property taxes, growth, or what is being said by the proponents or opponents. What outsiders need to understand is that the Meridian School District has the fine art of passing a bond down to a science. They choose an amount that will allow them to claim that the levy will “not increase” (they don’t tell you it will also fail to decrease which it would otherwise do.) They also traditionally have a volunteer group that includes a school representative for every school in the district; the school reps recruit a classroom rep for every class; the classroom reps poll all the parents of the students in each class and call to remind all the “yes” people to go vote. They also hold an open house in each of the elementary schools – which double as polling places – ON election day, so parents of school-age kids who are the most likely “yes” voters are on site already. I don’t know whether to admire their organizational skills or condemn these insider tactics. It certainly gives one reason to think long and hard about lowering the 2/3 majority required to pass these things. (I OPPOSE lowering the 2/3 supermajority for this very reason!) If I am recalling correctly, the district has received well in excess of 80 percent of the vote in its last several bond elections, so recent history is on their side. This one is a little different, though, because the amount of money they are asking for is SO big! There is also a growing uneasiness about doing anything that will increase our property taxes. So, I’m back to having to say that without some good opinion polling ahead of time, it would be hard to predict the outcome of this election beforehand.
Sep 19, 2005, 11:18 am
My husband and I are feeling really concerned about this election. I have prided myself on always voting for school bonds for the last 40 years, but our vote this time will probably be antigrowth. We have seen a serious degradation of the quality of life here in the valley because of the encouragement of building ever larger subdivisions which means higher taxes for roads, sewer systems, water systems and public safety. We don’t get to vote on building roads, so this is our one opportunity to have our say. Why doesn’t Meridian ship their excess children to the Boise District, which is concerned about dropping enrollment?
Sep 19, 2005, 3:57 pm
I hope citizens don’t really believe their “one chance” to have voice on growth issues is at school bond election time. By then, the horse is pretty much out of the barn, as the saying goes. Our voice on growth should be first on nomination petitions for City Council and County Commission candidates. Then at the polls. Ask the tough questions. The trick is ensuring they are for slowing the development, or making it FULLY pay for itself, and they aren’t in some fire or police union pocket to give away the other side of the house. Those of us who’ve been in this valley a long time really do resent paying for schools, recreation programs, libraries, parks, police officers, firefighters, sewer lines and manhole covers for those who are buying ticky tacky little boxes on perfectly lovely farm ground. I also have supported school bonds repeatedly over the years. I have worked on bond committees numerous times. However, enough really is enough. Know, however, your voice counts over and over as many times as you choose to sound it.